Category Archives: TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Funny girl, you look so unassuming / Right up until the room you’re captivating / Starts to fill with gut-busting laughter / And you’re transformed into a five-foot Cleopatra / Funny girl, your schedule’s pretty crazy / Doing interviews for the new live action Cathy / Could you pencil in an industry outsider? / Yeah, you’re young but, baby, you’re not getting younger

Funny girl / For once your timing wasn’t great / I must have missed you by a day / But, baby, things have turned out pretty good this way / And I don’t think either of us yearns to share the stage

Funny girl, you seem pretty indifferent / But you knocked me out when you charmed the pants off Letterman / Oh, I wish you’d flash that manic smile in my direction / And let me lead you to your seat like we were old friends

Thanksgiving marks the end of new music for 2022. For years, blogs and websites have competed to be the first on the block to stake their claim for their “Best Of” prominence. I’ve always been excited to “dig through crates” and review all of the new records I’ve listened to and shared over the year. The act of sharing music is really at the core of who I am. It’s my dairy, my life’s work.

Over the course of 2022, I’ve observed a few things:

The state of music is currently upside-down.

2022 had more releases by known artists than any single year I can remember.

In a world of streaming services, there is no such thing as “Best of” lists.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

You’re heard enough / Of the blues and stuff / You’re pretty swell now / ‘Cause you’re pretty tough / But I don’t have to tell you / How hard it can be to get by

You never bothered / About anyone else / You’re well educated / With no common sense / But love, that’s one thing / You really need to get by

All your troubles / Come from yourself / Nobody hurts you / They don’t care / Just as long as you show them / A really good time

There is no greater day than the day your album comes out. Not that I’ve released many albums as an artist. Two actually, but being in the music business I’ve had the good fortune to share the joy of many album releases. Today is one of those days. In fact two artists I work with, Paper Idol and Jacklen Ro, released albums this week. Most of of the the week has been celebrating in the creative achievements of these fine artists.

In this day and age the process of releasing an album is so different—such a long digital “hike, climb, or march.” Maybe it’s why having a physical product, vinyl or cassette, becomes something to covet. I’m gonna hold onto the one cassette of my band I have and shake it and toast to the sky with joy.

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TVD Live Shots: Judas Priest with Queensrÿche at the Toyota Arena, 11/7

Judas Priest has been riding the wind since 1969 and have been screaming for vengeance (and breaking the law) ever since. The metal god Rob Halford broke out the major firepower on Monday night in front of a near-capacity crowd in Ontario, crushing an 18-song set that would make any Priest fan drool. The thousands in attendance were hell bent for leather from the very first note, and were living after midnight when the dust finally settled. This was metal mayhem at its finest, and one of the finest live metal performances I have seen in 2022!

Fresh off their induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Judas Priest graced the stage of the Toyota Arena on Monday for what ended up being one kick ass rock and roll show for the ages. Joined by the legendary Queensrÿche, fans from all over southern California rocked out to nearly 3 full hours of jaw dropping, in your face metal that transported fans back to a time where all that mattered was the music. It was horns up, barricade crushing insanity in the IE, and a show that had been circled on my calendar for nearly a year. Let’s dig in.

Up first was one of my favorite bands of all-time, Queensrÿche. While I have seen this band well over 30 times, I go into each performance knowing that the set I am about to catch will somehow be unique or different. Monday’s show was no exception. The boys kicked things off with their very first single, 1981’s “Queen of the Ryche.” While classic for sure, it never gets old and is always a fan favorite. Next up was the “Warning,” and I’m here to say Todd La Torre nailed the vocals on it with precision and accuracy. Good lord, this man has some pipes.

It was also great seeing Michael Wilton (guitar) and Eddie Jackson (bass) ripping it up on stage with smiles ear to ear for the entire set. Their musicianship is simply incredible and are best in class in my opinion. And let’s not forget about Mike Stone (guitar) and Casey Grillo (drums). These cats are sonically amazing and are such an integral part of the current lineup.  Queensrÿche wrapped up their set with “Screaming in Digital” and “Eyes of a Stranger,” and they crushed em’ both. While it was a limited set—8 songs in all—it hit on all cylinders and was a perfect segue to Monday’s headliner, the mighty Judas Priest.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Did she wake you up to tell you that / It was only a change of plan? / Dream up, dream up, let me fill your cup

Yesterday was Veterans Day. No school for the kid so it was more quiet than most. These canyon mornings have been very cold, so I chose to have coffee in bed and read the iPad and listened to ol’ Neil’s Harvest album.

Over the past few weeks it’s dawned on me more than once that Neil Young songs are no longer available on Spotify. Have you ever looked closely at your old copy of Harvest? The original package concept was to have it entirely biodegradable. The album, now 50, has a distinct California wintery, stoney, reflective quality that I found as smooth as my my morning brew.

I recall an early ’90s Neil solo, acoustic show. My good pal Barry (aka The Double B) and I were seated in the fourth row among many friends. I think Rick (Rubin) and Anthony (Kiedis) were next to us. Neil came out and sat on a stool surrounded by acoustic guitars. He picked one or two up and hit a few strings until he found a “friend” tuned to his liking. Then he simply busted into a spot on version of “Old Man.”

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TVD Live Shots:
John Petrucci with Meanstreak at the
House of Blues, 11/5

Fans of progressive music were treated to one hell of a show on Saturday night as Dream Theater’s John Petrucci blew the roof off of one of Southern California’s premier concert venues, the Anaheim House of Blues. Joined by former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and Flying Colors bassist Dave Larue, Petrucci crushed an 11-song set that highlighted why he is considered by many to be one of the most talented guitarists on the planet today. 

I’ve been a fan of progressive music as far back as I can remember. Bands like Yes and Rush were always on my shortlist of favorites growing up, and it was an easy jump to the new wave of prog with bands such as Queensrÿche and Dream Theater. Listening to these legends touched my soul as the musicianship of these acts was second to none. On Saturday night, I was treated to an extension of those legacies as Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci headlined his first ever solo tour here in Anaheim. Let’s dig in.

Opening for John Petrucci on Saturday was an all-female thrash band from the ’80s called Meanstreak. While these ladies haven’t toured in quite some time, you never would have known by the amazing chemistry each exhibited on stage during their 45-minute set.

I was immediately captured by their opening song “Giant Speaks,” and held captive until their final curtain call after they offered Anaheim “The Dark Gift.” Walking away from the pit, I couldn’t help but smile as I’m rarely dazzled by opening acts. However, these ladies—Bettina France (vocals), Martens Myung (bass), Yael Rallis (drums), Marlene Portnoy (guitar), and Rena Sands (guitar)—were solid on all levels and their musicianship was second to none.

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TVD Live Shots: Blue October with Beatnik Bandits at the House of Blues, 11/3

Please don’t hate me, but I left my 18th floor balcony and dove into the ocean prior to Blue October’s near sell out at the Anaheim House of Blues on Thursday night. Joined by Beatnik Bandits, congratulations were definitely in order as Justin and company had the place feeling like home throughout an incredible 21-song set—and oh my my was it a special one. I hope you’re happy with the review and photos, and dare I say it, this is what I live for.

I’ve seen Blue October countless times over the years, and I can honestly say that each and every show is a unique and special experience for me. From killer merch tables to beautifully curated setlists, fans always walk away smiling when they see the band live. Add special VIP meet and greets (which typically include a killer soundcheck experience), and their shows rocket to a whole new level. Thursday’s show in Anaheim was no different as fans from all over the country gathered to rock out to one of the premier live acts on the planet.

Kicking off the festivities at the House of Blues was none other than Texas’ very own, Beatnik Bandits.  While I can honestly say I’ve never heard of this band before, I became an instant fan after their opening set on Thursday. Some might describe their unique brand of music as “folksy” or “Americana,” but to me their sound was 100% kickass, take no prisoners rock and roll. Christian Sparks and company exploded a powder keg in front of Blue October’s faithful, and in return gained a ton of new fans and immediate respect during their abbreviated opening set. Catch these cats live when you can—they’re definitely on the rise and a band that needs to be on your radar if they are not already.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar / When the dawn begins to crack / It’s all part of my autumn almanac

Breeze blows leaves of a musty-coloured yellow / So I sweep them in my sack / Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac

Friday evenings, people get together / Hiding from the weather / Tea and toasted, buttered currant buns / Can’t compensate for lack of sun / Because the summer’s all gone

La-la-la la la la-la la-la la-la la-la / Oh, my poor rheumatic back / Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac / La-la-la la-la la-la la-la la-la / Oh, my autumn almanac / Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac

There is a chance everything will work out. Why not? I think I’ll roll with that in mind this week. I know the times are a changing, and so am I.

Sometimes I’m scared to admit change makes me edgy. I get frustrated and feel old. Time has told me summer turns to fall and fall into winter. Some friends stick around and some fade into moonlight.

This week will be some of the darkest and coolest nights our canyon has seen this year. Funny six weeks ago was some of the hottest.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Our band could be your life / Real names’d be proof / Me and Mike Watt played for years / Punk rock changed our lives

We learned punk rock in Hollywood / Drove up from Pedro / We were fucking corn dogs / We’d go drink and pogo

Mr. Narrator / This is Bob Dylan to me / My story could be his songs / I’m his soldier child

Our band is scientist rock / But I was E. Bloom and Richard Hell / Joe Strummer, and John Doe / Me and Mike Watt, playing guitar

Hearing Dee Boone’s words rocketed me back to age 20. Oh, those were days filled with rocking fun times.

By the way, has the pandemic and fentanyl bummed your Halloween? Certainly more so than AIDS and ecstasy? The holiday and time of the year has always been my favorite, so I’m trying to keep my “boo” and “hoos” apart.

This said, I found it way more appealing to pull a few “cry in your soups” into the mix than the usual spooky tunes. The forecast is for absolute ideal weather in the canyon so I’m sending good vibes for all you kids out there.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Northampton, Exeter, Egypt / It won’t do to cry about it / I’ve seen a rat / I’ve seen a guy cautioned by police for rollerblading / Let’s smoke and drink and get fucked I don’t know / Let’s eat pancake / You could take control of my mind or body anytime / Why do I trust you? / The answer is I don’t and I never will / Let’s eat pancake / I’m bored but I get a kick out of buying things / Autonomy can be found at the shops / For me! / For me!

Dry Cleaning is one of the more fascinating bands to come out of the pandemic. With Florence Shaw’s deadpanned narrations, framed by intelligent and powerful sounds, the band seems to have walked straight out of the audience and into the rock ‘n’ rock spotlight.

They remind me of the way Black Flag walked onto the stage at their first New York show at Club 57. At one moment I was standing with some dudes waiting for the band, and the next thing I knew those same dudes were on stage playing a brand of music I never experienced.

So “just don’t touch my gaming mouse.”

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The Best of The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Now my hair gets longer as the beat gets stronger / Wanna tell Chuck Berry my news / I get my kicks outta guitar licks / And I’ve sold my steel-toed shoes

As October gives way to shorter and cooler days, old Joe Biden reminded us last night, “It’s gonna be a dark winter.” Mercury is in retrograde and they say it’s an opportune time to “clean your desk.” I’m taking this as a metaphor and taking it to heart.

During Covid I’ve been meditating. During my sessions it’s dawned on me that the time has come to let the past go, and I’m talking all things! As a record collector, it literally pains me to part with any rock ‘n’ roll relic, but this was the week. I parted with my ’59 Les Paul Jr and my well worn pair of 32-year-old custom engineer boots.

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TVD Live Shots: Shinedown with Jelly Roll and John Harvie at the Honda Center, 10/8

What could be better on crisp fall weekend than drinking a few cold beers, hanging out with a few of your closest friends, and rocking out to some killer live music?  Well, that’s exactly what happened on Saturday night as Shinedown’s Planet Zero World Tour dropped into the Honda Center and literally “Cut The Cord” in front of thousands of their closest fans. Along with Jelly Roll, John Harvie, (and a few thick blunts), this show had all the fixings’ for one hell of a party in Anaheim, CA. From my vantage point, this was a pure and simple rock ’n’ roll revival—584 days in the making.

For those who know me, there’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of live music. Metal, rap, rock, I love it all. And when one gets the opportunity to cover a show that combines many of the genres I love into one incredible bill, I am down times 100. On Saturday night, the stars aligned in Anaheim as Shinedown, Jelly Roll, and John Harvie combined forces for one incredible night of music mayhem. This 3+hour show had me on the edge of my seat from the opening salvo of John Harvie’s “A Little Bit Longer” to Shinedown’s final curtain call, “Sound of Madness.” Let’s dig in, shall we?

Up first on Saturday night was Nashville native John Harvie. While I’ll admit I’ve heard very little from this up and coming singer / songwriter, it was easy to understand why Shinedown added Harvie to this lineup. From the opening notes of “A Little Bit Longer,” it was clear that this set was going to be special and not just “filler’” prior to the main event. Throughout Harvie’s 8-song set, he immediately captivated the general admission pit with tracks like “Haunt Me,” “My Name (In Your Mouth),” and one of the only songs I had heard previously, “Beauty in the Bad Things.” There was a connection with the fans that very few new artists are able to make, and I am excited to see where that bond leads Harvie on his journey.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I forgot my book / At the fountain stairs / At a chapter on symmetry / Nobody cares / And I had a smoke / While I traced the squares / Put my finger to concrete / Felt the autumn air

When I look around / I can feel it spinning / Feet on the ground / Head on the ceiling

Sun on my shirt / Sweat on my hands / All falling in retrograde / Cancel all my plans / And I had to look / At the marching band / Skip across the pavement / Nobody’s there

Rolling through the week, taking it step by step. For whatever reason this week’s playlist is dominated by new female artists. This week’s “Idelic Hit” is from a group called “Men I Trust.” Right on, I’m applying for that position.

Those celebrating “indigenous” or Columbus Day—yikes what a paradox. I say, just keep stepping forward. In feet I trust.

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TVD Live Shots: Scorpions with Thundermother at
Viejas Arena, 10/1

I don’t know about you, but I love a good old-fashioned rock and roll show. On Saturday night, the Scorpions provided just that (and a whole lot more) in front of a near capacity crowd at Viejas Arena.  Joined by Thundermother, both bands crushed incredible sets that highlighted why live music is alive and kicking here in the USA. For the thousands in attendance, it was one incredible night of metal mayhem that rocked San Diego, well… like a hurricane!

Saturday evening’s Scorpions show was on my radar for quite some time. I’ve seen them countless times over the years and know that this legendary band always gives fans 110% during each and every performance. Scorpions shows are magnificent to say the least and include amazing set lists, incredible stage presence, and of course that unmistakable sound that is often imitated (but never duplicated) even to this day. These cats from Hanover have been kicking ass and taking names for over 50 years, and still perform with a reckless abandon that most up and comers can only dream of.

Opening on Saturday night was an all-female quartet from Sweden called Thundermother. While there have been many variations of this band over the years, the current lineup consists of original guitarist Filippa Nässil, Guernica Mancini (vocals), Majsan Lindberg (bass), and Emlee Johansson (drums). Their motto of “Thundermother don’t just play rock ’n’ roll. Thundermother are rock ’n’ roll!” initially seemed a bit arrogant and over the top to me. However, after seeing their opening set in front of their loyal fans, I can honestly say that phrase may have been the understatement of the year.

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TVD Live Shots:
Kevin Morby and Cassandra Jenkins
at the Belasco, 10/1

PHOTOS: KRIS KUGANATHAN | At the intersection of folk rock, Americana, soul, and indie music, Kevin Morby as I see it sits at the helm of a cross-genre he’s made his own.

Success for the Kansas City native has been anything but overnight. A seven studio album climb that started with his debut solo album Harlem River back in 2013, Saturday night’s performance at the historic Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles was the arrival of something great for Morby. Touring on his newest release, This Is a Photograph, you could feel his rise in the air. Opening act, Cassandra Jenkins, who has toured with Courtney Barnett and sang backup vocals on This is a Photograph brought her serene, experimental brand of indie music and lusty vocals to the scene. The crowd was receptive.

Last year I went to see Kevin Morby open for Hamilton Leithuaser, but this year headlining his own show, the atmosphere felt different. The 18-song setlist—half This Is a Photograph and the other half playing like a Kevin Morby’s greatest hits collection—was spiritual in service. We were all there for him. We knew all of the words. We were connected and uplifted by Morby and his band as they dispelled whatever dark matter we brought with us from our frantic lives. A metallic gold fringe jacket, Midwestern grace, rhinestone lined eyes, and a unique quickstep stage gait, he reels you into his synergetic world of secular spiritual music even though one listen to “Five Easy Pieces” will tell you it ain’t no church song.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Sunday morning / Sun shining from your eyes / Sleepy face / Smiling into mine

Sunday morning / Lots of time with nothing to do / Lots of time to spend with you / On Sunday morning

It’s so quiet in the street / We can hear the sound of feet walking by / I’ll put coffee on to brew / We can have a cup or two / And do what other people do / On Sunday morning

Sunday morning, Sunday morning, Sunday, Sunday / I love Sunday, Sunday morning

It’s actually rare these days that I’ll create a straight up “theme based” Idelic Hour set. This week however, “Sundays” fell out of my head. As a muse, a Sunday morning seemed too little to do with many of the new songs a fresh crop of baby bands have been creating.

The challenge of “standing,” a Margo Guryan classic, next. To the latest Nafets release, it’s really the entire point of doing The Idelic Hour week after week.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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