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Wednesday
Sep192018

A Storm Is Brewing: My Son The Hurricane Blows Into Yellow Springs

This is another Dayton City Paper piece I was working on. My Son The Hurricane will play Yellow Springs, a small town near Dayton, Ohio, soon. Enjoy.


Danno O’Shea, a self-described “off the boat Irishman from Canada” will bring his band, My Son The Hurricane to the Miami Valley this fall. The group, a hodge-podge of drums, horns and more, will play Peach’s in Yellow Springs. Fourteen members strong (yes, 14), the band is a mix of Parliament Funkadelic and Bruno Mars but decidedly unique. You need to see them live to get it.

“You know Parliament is a bit of a mess…but in the best way,” laughs O’Shea. “We’re definitely not as good as Bruno Mars on the choreography. We’re not too choreographed. It’s just how everyone is feeling it. It’s not stiff. We’re not into that. We have some basic steps and we let our guys interpret those.”

Beyond the dancing, My Son The Hurricane – or just Hurricane as O’Shea lovingly refers to his band – is a wall of sound.

“When I started Hurricane, I was always amazed at the bands that had the horns buried in the back,” explains O’Shea. “I thought they should be in the front. They deserve that light. I needed to find front people that wouldn’t get lost behind a wall of horns.”

In the end, O’Shea found two performers to fill that spot out front: singer Sylvie Kindree and emcee Jacob Bergsma.

The 14 piece brass band from Toronto/Niagara is making all sorts of waves in the States. It is often hard for Canadian musicians to get across the border to work in America. For My Son The Hurricane, that challenge is behind them and now it is full steam ahead.

“We had really only focused on Canada because it’s our home country… and for American musicians coming to Canada it’s quite easy. For Canadians coming to the United States, it’s exceptionally difficult to get in. So now that we’re in you can’t get rid of us!” laughs O’Shea. “We’re such a threat with our drums and our socialism.”

O’Shea admits being a little surprised with how fast his band has hit with American audiences. The band is already booking shows in America through 2019. This means an even bigger tour and new album.

Unlike most bands, My Son The Hurricane writes music in a very specific way: O’Shea and another member work on the songs. When it is time to record, each member gets a piece of sheet music to learn.

“We don’t jam songs,” admits O’Shea.

With so many musicians, a jam session could quickly become chaotic. Instead, the band has to manage time and be as efficient as possible. My Son The Hurricane will enter the studio in November and release a new album by May. The album will come out on the band’s own label, which is also managed by O’Shea.

To create connections with far away fans, My Son The Hurricane “introduces” a musician or crew member each Monday via their Facebook page. This way, everyone gets a chance to be in the limelight and fans feel like they are seeing a familiar face on stage when it is time to rock out for a live gig.

“There’s so many people behind the scenes that make thigs tick – we want them to get their due too. I also feel like for someone like the trombone player… well, he might not get as much love. It’s good they can have a moment where we show them off,” O’Shea explains of the band’s social strategy. As for O’Shea himself, he likes being buried in the back during shows.

When he isn’t writing music or playing drums in the back, O’Shea is hustling gigs for the band.
“You need someone who embraces the business side of music. It’s tough and slimy and you have to be unemotional.”

So why should you spend an evening with a funk band you’ve probably never heard of before? For the fun of it, of course.

“At our American shows, we say don’t buy the line that we should be divided,” laments O’Shea. “We’re all much more alike than people think.”

To make a connection with My Son The Hurricane, see them live at Peach’s Grill in Yellow Springs (101 U.S. 68) on Saturday, September 29. The show begins at 10 p.m. and there is no cost to attend. For more information, look up My Son The Hurricane on Facebook or visit https://www.msthofficial.com/.



Wednesday
Sep192018

Dayton Playhouse Celebrates 60 Years With 'My Fair Lady'

Yesterday I was informed the Dayton City Paper folded - and the publication would cease immediately. I was in the middle of three stories on deadline and one of those is below. In order to be fair to the Dayton Playhouse, I thought I would post this review of My Fair Lady here. Perhaps it will help them and I hope it does. Please realize this review was written for an entirely different audience than Bring Back Glam! readers. Still I felt it was my duty to share this review because the My Fair Lady production is really great.

 

How does My Fair Lady, the classic musical by Lerner and Loewe (based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion) fair in the #MeToo era? Fairly well if you have the right actors in place.

Dayton Playhouse kicked off its diamond anniversary season with My Fair Lady on Friday, September 14. This review focuses on the opening night of the production.

Sarah Viola makes a compelling Dayton Playhouse debut as Eliza Doolittle. Viola is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The soprano carries the production and effortlessly hits high notes, at times opening her mouth and music just seems to fall out. Viola is so polished there is a bit of added humor at the beginning of the production when Eliza is still street rough. With her first big number, “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” you are immediately drawn in by Viola’s big voice and pretty face. Eliza gets lost in a fantasy of a rich life after meeting Professor Henry Higgins on the street. As a mere scholastic challenge and social experiment for him and fellow academic Colonel Pickering, both men have no problem laughing at Eliza as a poor, uneducated girl who sells flowers on the street. Higgins goes further than Pickering and berates Eliza, refusing to see her as human, let alone equal. This is the #MeToo problem of My Fair Lady.

David Shough returns to the Dayton Playhouse stage as Henry Higgins and he is convincing. So much so, you find yourself muttering “what a jerk” under your breath during the production. For a lesser female lead, it would be easy to get lost next to Shough but Viola shines and the two have real chemistry. Director Brian Sharp was smart to cast the older Shough against Viola. For the first half of the production, the Higgins-as-father role is very clear. In act two, as Eliza spreads her wings and Higgins realizes he has deep feelings for her, the age difference matters less.

There were few, if any, real opening night bugs. Once, when Shough went to light a candle, the flame immediately died. “Damned American matches” he quipped quickly, and Viola laughed right on cue, the two never missing a beat.

The sets for this production are quite impressive including the painted backgrounds of Covent Garden and the Higgins’ home, including details like green walls, bookcases and wingback chairs, all making you feel like you were sitting in an early 1900s era London flat. There are many set changes in My Fair Lady but the actors and crew of this production do their best to keep the pace moving as quickly as possible. The Dayton Playhouse production of My Fair Lady is long, clocking in at three hours and twenty minutes. The good news is that The Dayton Playhouse is debuting new seats as part of the 60th anniversary celebration so you can sit comfortably during such a long production. Still, you’ll want to get up and move around during intermission.

Viola enters the stage with an air of elegance about her, even with the cockney accent and “dirt on her face.” Once she transforms into a “lady” for the Embassy Ball, the audience is hers. In her first appearance in her ball gown, with black hair piled high on her head and adorned with a tiara, a few audience members gasped. She enters the ball with her head held high, pretending to be a duchess or someone of royal lineage and the audience knows she must be trembling with fear, terrified she will be discovered as a fraud. Viola holds it together beautifully and some of her best acting comes in this section of the production and especially during the Higgins, Pickering (played by Dayton Playhouse regular Brian Laughlin) and ensemble production of “You Did It” in which everyone pats Higgins on the back for “fixing” Eliza and forgetting she is even in the room.

This is the last straw for Eliza and for Viola, who sits on the side of the stage, on a couch, staring in amazement at the misogyny around her. How could a man she literally trusted with her life be so crass? And so clueless? This is a common problem of evil for many women, explored time and again in countless books, theatre productions and movies. To make My Fair Lady relevant in 2018, the ending has to resonate with viewers of both genders, while sending a definite message.

Since the production first debuted, fans and critics alike have argued about the ending of the musical. Did Eliza stay with Higgins or did she go? The conclusion of My Fair Lady is one of the most famous in all of theatre history: Eliza simply touches Higgins on the check and walks away. It matters in how this moment is directed and how the character playing Eliza carries herself. For the Dayton Playhouse production is seems clear Eliza is saying goodbye to Higgins and her past life of being walked over by him and the other men in her life, including her father. Viola almost had a spring in her step after she withdrew her hand and walked toward the door before the stage went black. Was this the conclusion of opening night excitement? Perhaps. However it seemed more like a not-so-subtle celebration of female empowerment while staying respectful to a beloved musical.

My Fair Lady at the Dayton Playhouse runs every Friday and Saturday night through September 30 at 8 p.m. There is a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors, students and members of the military. To purchase tickets, visit the box office at 1301 E. Siebenthaler Avenue in Dayton or go online to thedaytonplayhouse.com.






Wednesday
Sep192018

Check Out The New Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators Track

Slash is truly "Living the Dream" right now. The top-hatted one and his band The Conspirators have just released a new track called "My Antidote." The new album Living The Dream comes out this Friday.


Slash - Living The Dream


Tuesday
Sep182018

More Consumerism (Part 2)

I won't lie, this is cool. But really, you don't need things like this... but man, it would look cool on your work desk, right?


Monday
Sep172018

More Consumerism

Bret Michaels is launching more products today for his all-new lifestyle line. Items include candles and cards. It's not all bad because proceeds go to Bret's Life Rocks charity, but still. If you need a card, go to the Dollar Tree. Or better yet, just talk to your friend or loved one in person or on the phone, save a dollar and the space in the landfill.


Freedom Of Sound, Vol. 1: A Collection Of Songs, Past & Present


Sunday
Sep162018

Steel Panther Announces More Tour Dates

Steel Panther is touring the U.S. for their Sunset Strip Live tour. I'd be interested in going to see them live again, but the shows closest to me (Indianapolis and Cleveland) happen when I will be out of town. Anyone going this? I feel like I haven't been to a concert in forever.


The only concert I'm holding tickets for right now is Aerosmith in April... that's like 7 months from now! I bought my flights for that trip this morning, so you can tell I'm pumped. I'll probably see 98 Degrees (it's free) when I'm at Disney World next month. They are playing during the Food and Wine festival. And I'm going to Vegas in December too - so I'm sure I'll see someone out there then... but nothing has caught my fancy yet in terms of show announcements. I might try to see Metallica when they come to Ohio in January. We'll see. They are coming to Cincinnati January 30 and I usually bug out of town during that week of the year because I need to escape the cold.


As you can tell, I like long range planning and having things to look forward to - I always need a trip on the horizon!


Saturday
Sep152018

Dee Snider Reveals 'American Made' Video

Dee Snider wears an American flag shirt in his new "American Made" video. The song is from the new album For The Love Of Metal. It's pretty heavy and a good time. I still haven't bought this album. I probably should. Have you?