Sunday, May 13, 2018

PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT - Live In Seattle! 5/10/18

Peter Hook & The Light

Neptune Theater
Seattle, WA


"Substance" - both albums by Joy Division and New Order - performed live by original bassist Peter Hook and his band The Light. Say no more - I'm in!

Thursday night at the Neptune was a chance for some to relive the glory days of both bands music from the late 70's and 80's while for others it was a chance to see and hear the music live for the very first time.

Young and old alike sang, danced, and had a ripping good time as Peter Hook and The Light played nearly a 2 1/2 hour long show. The first set being the New Order album, with a short 10-minute break, and then the second set being the Joy Division album.

The band sounded great! The more danceable New Order tracks getting the energy up while the Joy Division tracks reminded everyone in attendance just how good those songs were (and still are).

Peter has been playing various albums and songs from over the years on each tour - changing it up when it seems time to do so.

As I left the Neptune after the show, I couldn't help but wonder - where are the bands of today that are as influential as Joy Division and New Order? The genres both bands helped establish - who's carrying the flame into the future?

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on Instagram

Special Thanks: Jason for the credentials - thank you for the opportunity!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

LOVE NEVER DIES - US Tour 2018 - Seattle, WA 5/8/18 Review!

Love Never Dies

Broadway At The Paramount

The Paramount Theatre
Seattle, WA

(runs through Sunday 5/13/18)

All Photos by Joan Marcus


Eclectic Arts has always strived to bring as many different artistic endeavors to the readers as possible.  Musical theater, an area that has been untouched outside of fan-attended performances over the years, is now front and center. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Love Never Dies" has been inspiring audiences everywhere on its inaugural U.S. tour.  Gardar Thor Cortes and Meghan Picerno cast as the Phantom and Christine Daae respectively, with an ensemble of talent throughout the production, really hit the mark in more ways than one with this dazzling musical.

***if you want to go into your performance fresh with no plot details - stop reading right now***

Basically a sequel to the mega-hit, "Phantom Of The Opera", "Love Never Dies" sees the Phantom escape to Coney Island in New York, after his beloved opera house mysteriously burns to the ground in Paris.

Christine and Raoul are now married - with a son Gustave.  Christine has become a well-known star of the theater.  The family ventures to New York as part of the new Oscar Hammerstein production.  Meanwhile, the Phantom still yearns for Christine and plots a way to get her to sing again for him in New York.

It is inevitable that a sequel of any kind will get compared to the original - fair or unfair.  "Love Never Dies" takes the more simplistic approach of the original musical and adds dark layers to the story line. 

The Phantom and Christine characters are exposed and explored to much greater depth than the original musical.  Of course tragedy must occur which it does toward the end of the production.  That is a spoiler I won't reveal.

The signature pieces, "'Til I Hear You Sing", "Beneath a Moonless Sky", and, "Love Never Dies" were performed with achingly beautiful precision by Gardar and Meghan. 

Gardar's Phantom is one of strength and vulnerability.  His performance gained momentum as the show progressed, showcasing his strong vocal abilities.

Meghan's Christine stole the show.  Her operatic prowess really stood out throughout the performance.  Others in attendance raved about her afterward and deservingly so.  Her voice was strong, nuanced, and emotionally provocative.  She was perfectly cast as the now grown up woman, mother, and wife known as Christine Daae.  

Gustave, played by Jake Heston Miller, was another stand out in the cast.  You couldn't help but perk up and take notice any time he was on the stage.  His pristine vocals and emotive acting really made you believe that he also sings with the angels of music.

Sean Thompson (Raoul), Mary Michael Patterson (Meg Giry), and Karen Mason (Madame Giry) completed the known characters from the original story.  There were no weak links in any of the performances, far from it.

The cast as a whole was as top notch as you would expect.  The material they had to work with felt, at times, dated instead of universal or timeless.  But, many kudos to the casting department for a job well done.

The production - large and lavish in its scale, never over powered the performances - which it easily could have as it was absolutely stunning.  From the Coney Island circus set to the many shifting interior and exterior sets, visually the show was flawless.

Some in the media have criticized the storyline but to those in attendance Tuesday night, the audience was gleefully swept away to Andrew Lloyd Webber's world once more.

I left the Paramount Theatre satisfied, with the vivid imagery and songs dancing in my head as I walked into the night.

"Love Never Dies" delivers a dark, longing, and striking experience that will stay with you long after you've left the theater. 

"Love Never Dies" runs through May 13th in Seattle at the Paramount Theatre and then continues to Portland, OR from May 15-May 20th before heading out east at the end of May.

Kind regards,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Julie for setting everything up - the interview, the show credentials, everything - thank you so much for the opportunity!  Also, thank you to Brittany for assisting the day of the show as well.  It was a pleasure meeting you both!

Video Interview with Meghan Picerno ("Christine Daae"):

Friday, April 20, 2018

SIRENIA Return to Seattle! Gig Review from 4/17/18!


Studio Seven
Seattle, WA


When Sirenia came to the U.S. for the first time last year, founder Morten told me that they hoped to be back around spring in 2018. Well, as luck would have it, Sirenia came back to do a headlining tour of the U.S. in the spring!

I was looking forward to this show as the band are promoting, "Dim Days of Dolor" and getting ready to head back into the studio later this year to record the follow up.

The band's symphonic metal style is still rooted in melody, emotion, and power. Lead vocalist Emma has one of the purest voices in metal. Her voice soars with character and takes the audience on a magical ride with every song she sings.

Morten and the boys paint the metal landscape with ease and proficiency. "Ashes to Ashes" sounded particularly wonderful as did the set closer, "The Other Side".

Sirenia have a Pledge Music campaign going right now. They are busy through July getting the new album recorded, with summer festival appearances as well. They have some great Pledge gifts so be sure to check out their campaign.

This band deserves a larger audience here in the U.S. Hopefully they can get on a tour next year with that will put them in front of an appreciative audience to widen their fan base. I personally would like to see them do a run with Delain and/or Within Temptation.

A powerful set on a Tuesday night from Sirenia at Studio Seven. The tour is past the half way mark. Catch them when they come to your town - you'll be glad you did!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts


Special Thanks: Katy for the credentials - thank you for the opportunity!





Video Interview!

 (click on any photo for a larger image)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Firepower Across The Northwest - JUDAS PRIEST Concert Review! 4/15/18!

Judas Priest


Black Star Riders

Showare Center
Kent, WA


The Priest is back!

Touring in support of their fantastic new album, "Firepower", Judas Priest arrived at the Showare Center in Kent, WA (south of Seattle) to celebrate their amazing career. Bringing with them fellow metal maniacs Saxon along with Black Star Riders, this was going to be the metal event of 2018 thus far!

Fans of metal know that certain bands laid the foundation for the genre. Judas Priest is always in that conversation as well they should be. The boys from Birmingham have influenced countless metal bands that it's impossible to count. Let's not forget the twin lead guitar attack - something you didn't see in metal so much back in the early days of the band. And of course Rob Halford - the Metal God. His voice, range, presence, and of course the metal wardrobe that became standard for any metal band (black leather, spikes, chains, etc) can all be traced back to him.

So, for many in attendance on Sunday night, this was a visit back to the past - seeing one of the absolute best metal bands - ever.

The sold out show started with Black Star Riders. Rising from the lineup of Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders played a highly energetic set of classic rock 'n' roll. The band featuring Scott Gorham (from Thin Lizzy) played all original tunes sans, "Jailbreak", in the set. Black Star Riders got things going in the right direction with their opening set.

The mighty fucking Saxon took the stage next. A band that has always had it's U.S. fans but with room to add more, nabbing the special guest slot on this tour was a stroke of genius. Opening with, "Thunderbolt", from the new album of the same name, Biff and the boys showed why they've always been one of the best live bands around. Switching between classic and new tracks, the audience was treated to, "Power and The Glory", "The Secret of Flight", "Dallas 1pm", "They Played Rock N Roll", "Princess Of The Night", and several other heavy metal classics. The band most definitely left an impression on those that weren't familiar with them. This would be a great opportunity for the band to do another co headlining or headlining tour in the U.S. as a follow up later in the year or early next.

The crowd was getting anxious for the headliner. As the lights dimmed and, "The Guardian" blared out over the PA, the time had arrived for the metal masters - Judas Priest.

Launching into the title track, "Firepower", the band was, well, on fire. Rob Halford hasn't sounded this good for quite some time. Don't get me wrong, Rob is and always will be the Metal God but he's in some sort of zone right now as his singing has been the highlight of the new album and the tour.

Ritchie, Andy (filling in for Glenn), Ian, and Scott flew the flag of metal high all night long. From the deep cut, "Saints In Hell" to fan favorites like, "Grinder", "Running Wild", "Turbo Lover", "The Ripper", and many others. Interestingly, Kent was the tour debut of, "Freewheel Burning" - in place of "Green Manalishi" (which in turn replaced "Angel" from the beginning of the tour).

For those fans that have been following the tour, they know that Glenn Tipton made a few live appearances back east during the encores. The songs, "Metal Gods", "Breaking The Law", and "Living After Midnight" have been Glenn's songs of choice.

When "The Hellion/Electric Eye" and "You've Got Another Thing Coming" were aired in the main set instead of their usual encore slots, I was beyond ready to see Glenn during the encores if we were one of the fortunate cities.

And out he came.

What a fucking magical and heartfelt moment when he appeared. I know damn well there were some misty metal eyes in the arena when he walked out on stage. The band joined Glenn as they played the aforementioned three songs from "British Steel". Rob showed his band mate and friend of over 40 years much love and appreciation during the encores. Here's to Glenn - continue your fight against Parkinson's - the Judas Priest family is behind you!

What a night of metal! If you missed it, you blew it. Plain and simple. All three bands were stellar. This is in the running for show of the year for sure! All hail Judas Priest!


Mark Sugiyama

Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Chip/Jen, Doug, and Austin for the credentials - thank you all so very much!




(click on any photo for a larger image)