Graveyard has nothing to do with death (metal)

By Steve Newton When your band is called Graveyard, it’s no surprise that you sometimes get pegged as yet another grinding death-metal act. According to Graveyard frontman Joakim Nilsson, it happens quite a bit. “Yeah, we hear that a lot,” says the 37-year-old singer-guitarist, on the line from his home outside Gothenburg, Sweden. “But I … Continue reading Graveyard has nothing to do with death (metal)

Krampus makes the most of demonic gingerbread men

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 4, 2015 By Steve Newton Anyone who enjoyed mid-‘80s horror-comedies that relied on animatronic puppets for their chills and chuckles—movies like Gremlins and the lower-rent Ghoulies—may get a mild kick out of Krampus. Starting out with a Christmas Vacation vibe, Krampus sees your typical afluent American family--parents Tom and Sarah (Adam Scott and Toni Collette) and teenage kids … Continue reading Krampus makes the most of demonic gingerbread men

King Crimson freak suggests watching the band like it’s an orchestra

By Steve Newton I was a huge fan of prog-rock in the seventies, but for some reason I did not follow King Crimson much. About all I remember about them was the heavy riffs of "21st Century Schizoid Man". Guess I was too busy getting my prog-rock jollies from Yes, Tull, Floyd, Wishbone, and Genesis. … Continue reading King Crimson freak suggests watching the band like it’s an orchestra

Neil Young’s ragged glory undermined by shitty sound in Vancouver

The sound from the stage was great--until the band got up there. By Steve Newton Yesterday I wrote a fun little blog about how nice it would be if Neil Young topped off his show in Vancouver last night with one of my fave tunes of his, "Long May You Run". He didn't do that--opting instead to … Continue reading Neil Young’s ragged glory undermined by shitty sound in Vancouver

The Visit drives a nail in the coffin of the found-footage format–with a twist!

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 11, 2015 By Steve Newton Will M. Night Shyamalan ever clue in? Just because there's a twist in a movie doesn't mean the movie's any good. Sure, he won us all over with that gotcha moment in The Sixth Sense back in 1999, but by the time of The Village, five years later, … Continue reading The Visit drives a nail in the coffin of the found-footage format–with a twist!

Will the Foo Fighters blast out some old-school Van Halen riffs in Vancouver?

By Steve Newton The Foo Fighters have been paying respects to some fine classic-rock acts on their current tour. During their last gig, in Scotland on Tuesday, the Seattle guitar-rockers played snippets of Van Halen's "Eruption", Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust", and Big Country's "In a Big Country" during the band introduction. And two days earlier … Continue reading Will the Foo Fighters blast out some old-school Van Halen riffs in Vancouver?

Cold Chain revives the spirit of ’75 at the Chilliwack Senior High 40-year reunion

By Steve Newton Back in January I blogged about the "major concert news" that my old buddy's cover band, Cold Chain, was gonna play the 40-year reunion for my Chilliwack Senior High School class of 1975. At the time I put a request in for what was probably my fave tune that year, Ian Hunter's … Continue reading Cold Chain revives the spirit of ’75 at the Chilliwack Senior High 40-year reunion

Steve Earle’s marathon Vancouver show a winner despite a-hole sighting

photos by the Newt By Steve Newton Steve Earle was his typically cool and collected self during his marathon set at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver last night, but there was one moment when his calm demeanour got left backstage. Just before his encore one overly enthusiastic fan scampered up on the empty stage to grab … Continue reading Steve Earle’s marathon Vancouver show a winner despite a-hole sighting

Sinister 2 is a groan-inducing cash grab

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 19, 2015 By Steve Newton Blumhouse Productions’ 2012 sleeper Sinister was an impressively creepy fright flick that drew much of its strength from Ethan Hawke’s convincing portrayal of Ellison Oswalt, a struggling true-crime writer who seeks inspiration by moving his unknowing family into a home where an unsolved mass murder occurred. For Sinister … Continue reading Sinister 2 is a groan-inducing cash grab

Came across a real Creep on Netflix last night

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 9, 2015 By Steve Newton I had a hankering for a scary movie late last night so took a look at the Horror Movies section on Netflix to see what was available. The first five offerings were Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Prometheus, The Conjuring, Orphan, and World War Z, all of … Continue reading Came across a real Creep on Netflix last night

Jason Bateman discovers his dark side in The Gift

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT. COM, AUG. 5, 2015 By Steve Newton If you thought Jason Bateman could only play affable sad-sacks, prepare for a nice surprise with The Gift. The actor best known for his gentle portrayal of the put-upon Michael Bluth in Arrested Development discovers his dark side in a big way in this unsettling revenge thriller … Continue reading Jason Bateman discovers his dark side in The Gift

Metal gods Judas Priest to play first Vancouver shows with Rob Halford outside of a hockey rink

By Steve Newton I've been going to see Judas Priest play concerts at Vancouver hockey rinks since the 1982 Screaming for Vengeance tour hit the Pacific Coliseum, and, quite frankly, I'm sick of it. The acoustics are never any good, and you can never get close enough to see the sweat dripping off Glenn Tipton's fretboard unless you … Continue reading Metal gods Judas Priest to play first Vancouver shows with Rob Halford outside of a hockey rink

Neal Schon’s fierce guitar dulled by Journey’s soulless corporate-rock vibe

By Steve Newton Journey has long been criticized for being one of the prime purveyors of "corporate rock", along with the likes of Foreigner, Boston, Styx, and REO Speedwagon. But anyone who's ever slagged the group for its commercial sensibilities would have to admit that its latest attempt to make even more moola is pretty … Continue reading Neal Schon’s fierce guitar dulled by Journey’s soulless corporate-rock vibe

The Gallows’ horror hangs on tired found-footage clichés

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 10, 2015 By Steve Newton I wonder how much longer teenaged moviegoers' patience with low-budget "found footage" horror can last? Kids must be getting sick of the endless scenes of jittery camerawork, shreiking sound-effects, and predictable jump scares. Obviously, moviemakers like Blumhouse Productions--the company behind the hugely successful Paranormal Activity and Insidious franchises--are hoping … Continue reading The Gallows’ horror hangs on tired found-footage clichés

Frank Zappa lives in the middle of the Aristocrats’ Venn diagram

By Steve Newton Guthrie Govan is the type of generous guitar wizard who’s more than happy to reveal his tricks to budding pickers. That’s why, 24 hours before talking to me, he was at California’s Cambria Pines Lodge, taking part in the G4 Experience, a guitar retreat that also featured Joe Satriani, Animals as Leaders, … Continue reading Frank Zappa lives in the middle of the Aristocrats’ Venn diagram

The Alvin brothers blast the roof off in Vancouver at a roots-rock hoedown for the ages

all crappy iPhone photos by the newt By Steve Newton "I was teaching math when I first heard the Sex Pistols,"  Phil Alvin told me back in 1983, "and then I said, 'Allright, good. I can play again.' So I quit teaching." Thank god Alvin caught wind of Johnny Rotten and his band of miscreants, … Continue reading The Alvin brothers blast the roof off in Vancouver at a roots-rock hoedown for the ages

Bass-guitar legend Chris Squire of Yes dead at 67

By Steve Newton Sad news for music fans today. Chris Squire, bassist for British prog-rock legends Yes, passed away in Phoenix, Arizona, last night. He had been suffering from a rare form of leukemia. He was 67. Squire had formed Yes with singer Jon Anderson in 1968, and it didn't take long for the band … Continue reading Bass-guitar legend Chris Squire of Yes dead at 67

“We’re here for a reason, not here for a season,” says blues survivor Buddy Guy

By Steve Newton “I know I’m a survivor,” 56-year-old Buddy Guy told me back in 1993. “I mean we’re all only here for a time, you know—we’re here for a reason, not here for a season, man. All our days are comin’, so I’m just hopin’ I can keep our music goin’ on till some other … Continue reading “We’re here for a reason, not here for a season,” says blues survivor Buddy Guy

Rolling Stones super-deluxe box set falls short without Keith Richards mini cut-out

By Steve Newton The Rolling Stones snubbed Vancouver when it came time to book their current Zip Code Tour, which could very well be the group's last major trek outside the nursing home. But hardcore fans who've been bawling about that omission for months now can take some comfort in the fact that the money … Continue reading Rolling Stones super-deluxe box set falls short without Keith Richards mini cut-out

Joe Satriani recalls birthday boy Les Paul making fun of his whammy bar

By Steve Newton Tomorrow is a big day for fans of electric guitar: that's the day that legendary guitarist, inventor, and innovator Les Paul would have turned 100. The celebration of Paul's legacy includes a big event at the Hard Rock Café in New York’s Times Square, featuring performances by Joe Bonamassa, Steve Vai, Warren Haynes, Steve Miller, Joan … Continue reading Joe Satriani recalls birthday boy Les Paul making fun of his whammy bar

Whitesnake brings the power of Deep Purple to Vancouver

kevin statham photo By Steve Newton I never got to see David Coverdale sing “Burn” with Deep Purple–I wasn’t old enough to travel down to the Ontario Motor Speedway to see them coheadline California Jam with Emerson, Lake & Palmer back in ’74–so it was pretty cool to see him do it with Whitesnake at … Continue reading Whitesnake brings the power of Deep Purple to Vancouver

Whitesnake’s Purple Tour offers equal servings of Burn and Stormbringer, one bite of Come Taste the Band

By Steve Newton I was never that crazy about Whitesnake during it's mid-'80s heyday, when it went the power-ballad route with hits like "Is This Love". Sure, I enjoyed ogling Tawny Kitaen on the hood of a car as much as the next guy, but I much preferred Whitesnake in the late '70s/early '80s, when … Continue reading Whitesnake’s Purple Tour offers equal servings of Burn and Stormbringer, one bite of Come Taste the Band

Jesse Cook collects three “amazing” takes from Tommy Emmanuel’s creativity tap for “Tommy and Me”

By Steve Newton Last week I scored a copy of the new CD from Canadian nuevo-flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook, One World, and before even cracking it open I got a nice surprise. The track listing on the back cover revealed the inclusion of one featuring Tommy Emmanuel, the Australian fingerstyle guitarist who just four days earlier … Continue reading Jesse Cook collects three “amazing” takes from Tommy Emmanuel’s creativity tap for “Tommy and Me”

Canadian flamenco-jazz ace Jesse Cook says the future of guitar playing is in good hands

By Steve Newton Jesse Cook called me up last week in advance of his June 4 show at the Queen E. Theatre in Vancouver, and we chatted about a few things, including the fact that Aussie fingerstyle great Tommy Emmanuel performs on a track on his new album, One World. In the course of our conversation … Continue reading Canadian flamenco-jazz ace Jesse Cook says the future of guitar playing is in good hands

The world’s greatest acoustic guitarist takes his fans over the rainbow in Vancouver

photos by "Honest" Todd Salive By Steve Newton “I’m not out to prove I’m the world’s greatest guitar player," Tommy Emmanuel told me back in 1994. But if that's the case, just what the hell did he think he was doing at the Vogue Theatre last night? The 59-year-old picker from Australia spent the majority … Continue reading The world’s greatest acoustic guitarist takes his fans over the rainbow in Vancouver

Sooner or later it all gets real for Neil Young’s 26-year-old guitarist Lukas Nelson

By Steve Newton Willie Nelson celebrated his 82nd birthday on April 29, so when his son Lukas calls for an interview the next day, the first question has to be “So how was the party last night?” “It wasn’t much of a party,” he replies. “We just played poker, and a little golf.” If copious … Continue reading Sooner or later it all gets real for Neil Young’s 26-year-old guitarist Lukas Nelson

Joe Bonamassa says “I’m not a full-time rock ‘n’ roll guy. I like blues.”

By Steve Newton For his latest album, American guitar hero Joe Bonamassa came up with one helluva great idea. Or at least his producer, Kevin Shirley, did. The plan was to record a one-off concert dedicated to the music of blues legends Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and the resultant double disc—Muddy Wolf at Red … Continue reading Joe Bonamassa says “I’m not a full-time rock ‘n’ roll guy. I like blues.”