Thursday, October 2nd6.8°C
Under the Lights

Just The Reviews Please

YES - Heaven & Earth (Frontiers Records)

As I wrote in another column: “Heaven & Earth” is as fresh as a Spring morning! This is the latest offering from that veteran ensemble of musical talent that we have been saying “Yes” to for over forty years! What we have here, are eight absolutely stunning pieces of swirling-symphonic musical progressions that will lighten the heaviest of hearts amongst us! A literal and musical masterpiece! “Heaven & Earth” may just be the album that re-invents “Yes” and introduces them to a whole new generation! Teaming up with legendary producer Roy Thomas Baker, “Yes” have delivered a complete musical statement that retains all the high marks this group have become known for. Yet, they have also breathed new life in their musical creations, finding new nuggets in their quest of musical expression. There is so much creativity within each track, and from each musician, that it truly boggles the mind! In a few words, “Heaven & Earth” is nothing short of beautiful and unique, just nothing quite like this in all of Heaven or on Earth!! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)

They are back! Tesla are giving us the simple goods! “Simplicity” is all new and it is a no nonsense slice of Hard Rock from this musical force! Yes, guitar dominant still, the Tesla sound is just as hard and just as full of unique signatures as they were from the beginning. Melody? This quintet pulls melody out of the air and lay it all down effortlessly. Listening to “Simplicity” one could be forgiven for mistakenly thinking that this five piece must be brand new Rock Heroes and not the thirty year veterans that Tesla is. That is the energy level you are about to experience.  Each and every track is a musical statement in of itself, no matter what Jeff is singing about or what musical emotion is being played out. Dave, Troy, Frank, and Brian just keep giving it and the combination is amazing! Each song builds in to the next, combining to give us one heck of a wild ride! Stand-out tracks? Well, all of them in fact, however a few of my favourites? “Cross My Heart”, MP3”, “Life Is A River” and “Flip Side”. Tesla: simply enjoy! Bruce Atkinson (91/100)

CAPTAIN BLACK BEARD - Before Plastic (Dead End Exit Records)

Coming off of a critically acclaimed debut, “Captain Black Beard”’s second effort “Before Plastic” should cement all those accolades rendered by music journalists the world over! There is definitely some solid Rock happening on this effort. Melodies that will linger a long time, Rock passages that will make you sit up and take notice! Each track is full of energy, great vocals from Sakaria and Robert, Victor and Christian just keep laying down the vibe! Hailing from Sweden, “Captain Black Beard” have been a staple in that country’s live scene since 2009. You certainly can hear it, this band is so tight, and a controlled discipline that does not wane the energy levels. Each song has the “chops”. “Before Plastic” should put the group up to the next level, opening up more live opportunities and raising their profile globally! Bruce Atkinson (82/100)


RIK PRIEM - Rik Priem’s Prime (Avenue of Allies)

For this young guitarist “Prime” is a very ambitious debut. Helped by musical mate Carsten Schulz of “Frozen Rain”, Rik’s dreams of a guitar-driven musical soundscape has been realised. Bringing in some of Europe’s finest musical craftsmen has also helped. Of course there is Carsten on vocals, Greet Margodt on keyboards, with Ramy Ali providing the pounding rhythms, with Vincent De Laat keeping pace on the bass and all four producing such solid material that Rik can soar from! “Prime” of course is a guitar album, and a guitar lover’s album! Rik’s talents on the fret board is just unbelievable!  Displaying a wide spectrum of style and influences, his skill blossoms, as does each other member of the band. A collection of thirteen tracks that offer up a variety and depth that will astound. Upon one listen it is hard to believe that this is Rik’s debut. Rik Priem is a rising star and “Prime” is his rocket, the line-up on this record are set to bring these tasteful explorations of sonic brilliance to the stage… So get ready for a rocket ride this Summer!! Bruce Atkinson (89/100)

Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Hank Stallion:  Sept. 25th   Zamboni  Brothers:   Sept. 26th & 27th   Hank Stallion:  Oct. 2nd  Moni Funk:  Oct. 3rd  & 4th   Zamboni Brothers: Oct 9th   The Goods Oct. 10th & 11th

Checkers Bar & Grill: (Vernon)  Easy Fix:    Sept. 26th  & Sept. 27th

Doc Willoughby’s:  Jonas & The Massive Attraction:  Oct. 3rd

Level Nightclub:  Every Time I Die:   Sept. 26th 

Neighbours Pub:   Honest Woods:   Sept. 27th   Julie Masi:  Oct. 4th   Déjà vu:  Oct. 11th

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)   Linus:  Sept. 26th                            Hank Stallion:  Oct. 3rd & 4th   Radio Lifeline:   Oct. 10th & 11th

Notable Concerts:    

Prospera  Place:    Alan Jackson  Sept. 25th   Brad Paisley:  Oct. 4th   Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th  Black Label Society:  Dec. 30th

Minstrel Café:  Maria Muldaur:   Oct. 11th

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:  November 27th 


   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....



The Next Big Thing?

As I stare down this timeline for “Under The Lights”, I am just wrapping up a writer’s marathon for both Melodic Rock and Fireworks magazine!  A marathon, due to the amount of new music I’ve been exposed to in the last few days…and all good, and most?—simply fantastic!  After such an adventure, I am looking forward to the closing months of 2014—so go ahead bring on Winter—I’m good—I’ve got lots to listen to and lots to warm up my musical heart!


Just a couple of mentions:  Britain’s Melodic Rock maestros—“Vega”, are about to release their third album, “Stereo Messiah”.   It’s full of beautifully played and sung musical gems that will stir up your soul!  This time around the group is showing much more depth and a confidence that can only add strength to their live performances…

Then there is this group out of Germany whom are pure genius!  Only in their early twenties, “Kissin’ Dynamite” are five Master-class musicians that started to make an impact—a huge one—when they were only in their mid-teens!  I was absolutely floored when I started to listen to their fourth, yes their fourth full-length album!  “Megalomania” is literally shaking with power!  This is how real rock oughta be played.  Fronted by two brothers, Ande Braun and Hannes Braun—the five have been together since they were fourteen years old.  Now, if you ‘you-tube’ JoHannes Braun, you will come across some unbelievable performances from a German talent show, and at the time—he was only twelve!  Suffice to say—Hannes, and the others have grown leaps during the ongoing years, and now sit as one of the foremost Hard/Metal rock bands out of Europe!

Speaking of Hard, Heavy and Metal music—don’t miss the arrival of “Kryoshere” to Kelowna.  On September 23rd this four-piece out of Edmonton will tear up Fernando’s and leave no prisoners!!  Currently on their “West Koast Katastrophe” tour, which will see them slay in Vancouver, Victoria and Cranbrook—promoting new material from their upcoming album release.  The group also has a couple EP’s under their belts; namely their debut: “Six Feet Under” and last year’s “SOL”.  So for some real heavy and dark Metal, ( some like to use the term Death Metal), it is “Kryoshere” at Fernando’s—Tuesday September 23rd!

Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator: Hank Stallion:  Sept. 25th  Zamboni Brothers:  Sept. 26th & 27th

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)   Linus:  Sept. 26th

Notable Concerts:    

Prospera  Place:    Alan Jackson  Sept. 25th   Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th 

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:  November 27th 


   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....


Mother Road-not Route 66

This man was a founding member  of the German powerhouse “Soul Doctor” which I happened upon, back in 2007, via an assignment to interview and review the band’s then latest release “Blood Runs Cold”.  I was so excited to have this assignment, as “Soul Doctor” was everything that the 1970’s Hard Rock movement promised-Rock & Blues

polished to the hilt, exploding the borders of both styles.  At the end of 2011, Chris Lyne left “Soul Doctor” to pursue other musical adventures. but not until the group released their excellent live document and another studio album…”Back To The Bone”.   

In 2012, Chris indicated on his own web page, that he was working on another project…but not saying too much about exactly what, and really nothing about his departure from “Soul Doctor”.

Happily, Chris has joined forces with Keith Slack, the ex-vocalist of “Steelhouse Lane”-another excellent group out of America.  Together they are a formidable song writing force, and the result is another pure Hard-Rock outfit called “Mother Road”!  Both are joined by the legendary Keyboardist, Alessandro Del Vecchio, (whom seems to be on everyone’s album lately), and Zacky Tsoukas on drums, and founding member Frank Binke on bass, whom played for Kingdom Come.  Now, their debut is ready—“Drive”, an album full of Blues-Rock that you are used to hearing from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, early Aerosmith, etc.   Alessandro’s keys of choice are Hammond Organs, and what soul shaking flavour he brings to each and every composition from the main songwriters.  Keith Slack, at times, sounds like a young David Coverdale-again elevating the music to the higher echelons of energised Blues-Rock.  Together this five piece forges everything to a razor edge, what with a dynamic rhythm section to the precise and soaring guitar work of Chris. “Drive” is also a wide-ranging collection of music, from the down right dirty Rock sounds to more subtle Blues infused up-tempo numbers—however everything is delivered with a unadulterated ‘groove’.  Yes, a powerful debut, but one with extreme depth—showcasing each member’s talents and the superb harmony that each produces!

 This new group of seasoned musicians is most worthy of your attention…”Mother Road”…now available in the finest of record stores.  Now, let’s hope they decide to tour—it’ll be 1978 all over again!!

Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Hank Stallion:  Sept. 11th    The Goods:  Sept. 12th  & 13th    Zamboni Brothers:  Sept. 18th   Jimmy LeGuilloux:   Sept. 19th & 20th   Hank Stallion:  Sept. 25th  Zamboni Brothers:  Sept. 26th & 27th

Checkers Bar & Grill (Vernon):  Colt 45: Sept. 12th & 13th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:    The Steadies:  Sept. 19th

The Green:   HogWild:   Sept. 12th  & 13th

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)   We Are Live:  Sept. 12th & 13th  Floyd Vedan Band:  Sept. 19th & 20th   Linus:  Sept. 26th

Notable Concerts:    

Minstrel Café:  Maria Muldaur:  September 11th

Prospera  Place:    Alan Jackson  Sept. 25th   Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th 

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:  November 27th 


   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....


Unfinished Business


We are about…to hear brand new material from this iconic West Coast band!  “Unfinished Business” is the latest from Canada’s own “Loverboy”!!  Comprised of material the group has written over their career, but for one reason or another never quite completed, until now!  These songs are hot and ready to be consumed by us!  Some of the material on “Unfinished Business” harkens back to the beginnings of “Loverboy” and some even further back.  


Although this album is not being released by Frontiers, the making of this album was an inspiration from the recording sessions that gave us the “Rock N’ Roll Revival” album—which was released by Frontiers.  With three brand new songs on that album, and new versions of classic “Loverboy” material—the group went on to look through their catalogue of material and found some gems, that were in various states of completion.  Some of what we hear on “Unfinished Business” may sound familiar only because at the group’s early concerts—they may have ‘road tested’ some of this material—but then for whatever reason put it back on the shelf.  Now, having said all of the above-“Unfinished Business” isn’t just a throw back—these songs are as fresh as when we first heard “The Kid Is Hot Tonight”, “When It’s Over”…aahh! you get the idea!  “Loverboy”—“Unfinished Business” available now at all fine record shops!  

Exploding...out of Calgary, we shall soon feel the impact from this thunderous four piece!  Keep your eyes on "These Raven Skies"...a funk fuelled straight up rock band that is about to release their self titled debut. The lads are not just a fantastic rock group, they are savvy business men as well!  They formed their own label, secured a major distribution deal with Universal Music Group and are putting the pieces in place for a full scale attack on the nation!

The group did record under the name of "Dreams Of Reason", however their music  was taking on a different direction, so much so that the four decided to change their name as well.  "These Raven Skies"  display some Progressive elements, but rooted in Rock and Blues, with a healthy dose of some, what I call, "Hardened Folk".  Jeff Martin of "The Tea Party" heard what these amazing four were up to and was quick to offer his help!  Assisting with the production, and finding a harmonious relationship with the group's song writing team, Jeff ended up co-writing several songs on the self-titled debut!  Working from their hard-rock background, "These Raven Skies" have expanded their playing with some very interesting use of differing instruments, and building up their songs with a funky rock groove that actually opens up everything!  One listen of their new album, and you will surely hear a depth seldom heard, an expertise in playing that would be attributed to a much older band!  The structure of each song shows a musical maturity, but a freshness as well.  Plus, there is nothing on this album that cannot be performed live--promising us that their live shows will be thunderous, yet intimate!

An album that is varied, yet united in that the group have successfully developed a "Signature Sound"--there is no mistaking "These Raven Skies"!

Under the Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  The Young ‘Uns:   Sept. 5th & 6th  Hank Stallion:  Sept. 11th    The Goods:  Sept. 12th  & 13th   Zamboni Brothers:  Sept. 18th   Jimmy LeGuilloux:   Sept. 19th & 20th  Zamboni Brothers:  Sept. 26th & 27th 

Checkers Bar & Grill (Vernon):  Colt 45: Sept. 12th & 13th 

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:    The Fangles:  Sept. 5th   The Steadies:  Sept. 19th 

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)   Papa Wheely:  Sept. 5th & Sept. 6th   Floyd Vedan Band:  Sept. 19th & 20th 

Notable Concerts:    

Minstrel Café:  Maria Muldaur:  September 11th 

Prospera  Place:    Alan Jackson  Sept. 25th   Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th  

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:  November 27th  

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....


Read more Under the Lights articles


About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories

RSS this page.
(Click for RSS instructions.)