Exclusive Interview: Good Charlotte Make A Triumphant Return! New Album Set For Release This Summer!

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(PCM) After taking approximately a five year hiatus, rockers Good Charlotte are triumphantly making a return to the stage and are gearing up to drop their highly-anticipated new album “Youth Authority” on July 15! The band is currently in the midst of performing a string of small club dates to set the pace for what is sure to be a fairly hectic rest of the year!

The first of these intimate tour stops took place at the TLA in Philadelphia, PA and ironically enough it is a venue that holds an incredibly special place in the history of Good Charlotte. The band played one of their very first shows ever at this venue in the City Of Brotherly Love, and also the now defunct alternative radio station Y100, here in Philly was one of the very first radio stations to spins the band’s very first single “Little Things”.

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The current TLA show sold out in mere minutes and the venue was packed to capacity as fans who were lucky enough to score tickets were able to enjoy cherishing a milestone in the band’s history, as this show marked Good Charlotte’s first return to Philly since their initial hiatus. The fans were enthralled with the show for start to finish and as vocalist Joel Madden remarked for the stage “Pop Punk is not dead, it was only taking a little nap.”

The band immediately kicked things into high gear opening with their pulsing hit “The Anthem” before plowing through a solid set that spawned their entire discography. Fans were clamoring for songs off the band’s debut album and Good Charlotte were more than happy to oblige. We were thrilled to hear songs such as “My Bloody Valentine”, “Motivation Proclamation”, “Girls & Boys”, “Riot Girl” and “I Just Wanna Live” to name a few and the band appropriately closed out their set with our tongue-in-cheek favorite “Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous”.

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Good Charlotte appeared and sounded completely refreshed and even managed to throw two new songs from “Youth Authority” into the set with “Makeshift Love” and “40oz Dream”. Words can not even express how excited we are to check out the rest of this album and catch the band live again when they head out for a few dates on the Vans Warped Tour later this summer.

We had a chance to catch up with both Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte to talk about the upcoming album, changes in the music industry, the generational appeal of their music and so much more!  When speaking about this intimate run of tour dates Joel Madden told us “At this point in our career we feel very genuine about what we do and we are only really kind of doing what we want to do, so I always say, let’s just play these shows that mean a lot to us because I don’t even know how many shows we have left in us. With the touring I say let’s just do the sh*t that really matters us, so we did these four shows and it just feels special every night”.

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Madden went on to tell us that what stood out during the recording process was “just the sheer love of us getting back together to make a record and the first song that came was a song called “Life Changes” and you can just feel the energy and that we all truly wanted to be back in that room together”.

You can listen to the full interview below:

Photography credit: Andrew Wendowski

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Concert Review: Mac Sabbath Indulges The Hungry Crowd At Underground Arts In Philadelphia

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(PCM) Would you like some fries with that shake? Speaking of shakes, the walls at the cavernous Underground Arts in Philadelphia, PA were literally shaking when parody rockers Mac Sabbath took to the stage providing the sold-out crowd with a hilarious and thoroughly entertaining evening of tongue-in-cheek food humor and surprisingly stellar musicianship. Seriously, how can you go wrong with a band that parodies Black Sabbath songs while dressed as McDonald’s characters? It’s brilliant!

We figured that we had better get out to see Mac Sabbath before they find themselves inevitably sued by the McDonald’s corporation and it appeared that everyone else in Philly shared the same idea, as Underground Arts was packed. Mac Sabbath live is without a doubt one spectacle you need to experience at least once in your life! The band entered the stage to the creepy intro music of Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” and once the red and yellow circus curtain fell, the audience was entranced from beginning to end.

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Throughout the band’s roughly 80 minute performance they brought out many hilarious props such as light-up chicken nuggets, a six-foot milkshake straw, as well as, inflatable hamburgers which were tossed in the crowd. Vocalist Ronald Osbourne, who entered the stage as Evil Ronald McDonald donning a strait-jacket, was chock full of piss and vinegar, hilariously quipping and sharing fast-food related anecdotes throughout the entire set. There was even a grill set up at the front of the stage that acted as a fog machine for releasing dry ice!

Osbourne, who spoke with a fake British accent, referred to the band as Drive-Thru Metal and hilariously mocked additional bands in their genre such as Great White Castle and of course Almond Joy Division to name a few. He also noted that due to legalities, as the tour coincided with the release of McDonald’s famous Shamrock Shake, the tour must be referred to as the “Rock Sham Shake Tour”.

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The band opened their set with “More Ribs” their take on Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and plowed through additional classics such as “Frying Pan” (Iron Man), “Chicken for the Slaves” (Children Of The Grave), “Cherries Are Fruits” (Fairies Wear Boots) and my personal favorite “N.I.B.B.L.E.” (N.I.B.). What was also truly amazing was just how well band members Slayer MacCheeze and Grimalice were able to play so flawlessly while donning some seriously cumbersome costumes. Slayer MacCheeze was sporting a super-sized Mayor McCheese head and Grimalice was donned head to toe in a purple Gimace costume. We still can’t figure out how they were so on-point!

The band’s encore consisted of “Pair-Of-Buns” (Paranoid) where Ronald Osbourne urged the crowd to start a circle-slam and off he went crowd-surfing around the outskirts! It was an incredible sight to behold. Mac Sabbath are definitely one of the more interesting bands we have had the pleasure of checking out, as their show was a order of fun, irreverent humor and entertainment creating a “super-sized” entertainment deal!

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Photography credit: Ken Schuler Photography 

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Carrie Underwood Captivates On The Storyteller Tour!

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(PCM) Last night, Carrie Underwood captivated a capacity crowd at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA with a spectacular stage show and performance. The singer’s Storyteller Tour has been packing arenas both around the country and overseas in Europe. The in-the-round production is Underwood’s most adventurous production undertaking of her career, complete with spotlights, strobes, CO2, and four wardrobe changes. She’s absolutely blowing audiences away in support of her latest studio effort Storyteller, which debuted strongly at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 last October.

The arena went dark and AC/DC’s “Back In Black” began to blast from the speakers. Then Carrie rose from underneath the stage in a sexy, shimmering gold dress amidst a plethora of strobes and spotlights. She opened with “Renegade Runaway,” the first track from her latest album. Then she tore right into a mashup of two megahits – “Last Name” and “Somethin’ Bad.” She gave the audience no time to catch their breath, as another foot stomper “Undo It” was up next.

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Other highlights from the set were almost too many to count. Underwood dropped hits like “Cowboy Casanova,” “Church Bells,” “Little Toy Guns,” “Blown Away,” “Good Girl,” “Two Black Cadillacs,” and more. Especially moving was her rendition of “Jesus, Take The Wheel.” She poured her heart into it, hitting the high notes like a true vocal champion leaving the audiences jaws on the floor. She also covered Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” Carrie said to the crowd, “I know I’m no Dolly Parton by any stretch of the imagination.” That may be true, but that doesn’t it wasn’t a damn fine tribute to an icon.

In between the big hits and fan favorites, Carrie showcased her new record for the fans. She performed eight of her latest album’s thirteen songs, proving that she was not on the road to rely on past success. She closed out the set with her seminal classic “Before He Cheats.” Then, she returned for a two-track encore of “Smoke Break,” the lead single from Storyteller and her epic ballad “Something In The Water,” which featured a closing verse of “Amazing Grace.” To say Carrie received a standing ovation would be the understatement of the night.

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Carrie Underwood has enjoyed just over a decade of success in country and pop music. Since the release of her debut album Some Hearts in 2005, she has sold over 65 million records worldwide. Throughout her career, Carrie has garnered five CMA Awards, seven Grammy Awards, nine American Music Awards, 11 ACM Awards, and 17 Billboard Music Awards. She was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2009. Carrie has been nominated for the coveted ACM Award for Female Vocalist of The Year. The 51st Annual American Country Music Awards air Sunday, April 3 at 8/7c on CBS.

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This review first appeared on our sister publication, CountryFriedMedia.com!

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Concert Review: Bullet For My Valentine And Asking Alexandria Bring The British Invasion Tour To Philadelphia

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(PCM) The British Invasion Tour featuring Bullet For My Valentine and Asking Alexandria made a recent stop at the Fillmore in Philadelphia, PA and provided us with an evening of blistering metal and absolute mayhem. The bands have been playing to near sell-out crowds for majority of dates on this run and the Fillmore was no different as fans packed in to see these masterful metallers in action. Both Bullet For My Valentine and Asking Alexandria have been through quite a bit over the years, however they have triumphantly overcome this obstacles and have emerged stronger than ever!  In all seriousness, both band’s sounded the best we have heard them in years!

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Asking Alexandria blasted on to the stage opening with “I Won’t Give In” and blazed through their set which included “Run Free”, “The Death Of Me”, “The Black” and “Not The American Average” to name a few. New vocalist Denis Stoff is a perfect fit and we absolutely can’t wait to get our hands on the band’s upcoming album (the first to feature Stoff on vocals) “The Black” set for release this March. The band appeared to have a completely renewed spark while performing and if the new singles “The Black” and “I Won’t Give In” are any indication, they have discovered a new found maturity in their sound as well.

We had a chance to catch up with Asking Alexandria vocalist Denis Stoff prior to the band’s performance, check it out below:

Bullet For My Valentine took to the stage in epic fashion with flashing lights, pounding drums and searing guitar riffs, we can’t decide which was louder, the band entrance or the roar of the crowd who were amped to rock out to the evenings headliners. Opening with “No Way Out” Bullet For My Valentine blew through their set list which included songs such as “Skin”, “Your Betrayal”, “Raising Hell”, “Scream Aim Fire”, “The Poison”, “Alone” and “Waking The Demon” at frenzied pace.  The venue was a whirlwind of raw adrenaline as the crowd broke into a sea of both mosh pits and crowd surfers.

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Bullet For My Valentine took complete control of the stage and vocalist Matt Tuck held the audience captive throughout the entire set. We always feel that Bullet For My Valentine are grossly overlooked when it comes to superior musicianship with the metal genre, as they never shy away from a little experimentation and play with an amazing level of technical prowess.

Such a wonderful evening of music featuring some truly talented bands!  Definitely a major bang for your buck!

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Dedicated – Lil Wayne Brings Rock ‘n’ Roll Rap Show To Bethlehem

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(PCM) Over the last decade, Lil Wayne – the self-proclaimed best rapper alive – has enjoyed monumental success. His status is credited partly to his skills as a rapper, and much in part to his dedicated fans. Recognizing that, Lil Wayne has mounted The Dedication Tour, a live love letter of sorts to all the loyal parishioners of the Church of Weezy. Last night, the New Orleans native brought his rock ‘n’ roll rap show to the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA for a show-stopping performance.

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Weezy kicked things off with his autobiographical track “Mr. Carter.” Before the set really got going, Wayne summed up the point of the Dedication Tour. “Some things ya’ll gotta know,” he stated. “Number one, we ain’t sh*t without the man upstairs.” He paused for applause. “And number two, I ain’t sh*t without you.” The crowd erupted, giving thanks for the acknowledgement from one of their favorite rappers.

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From there, with weed in hand, Lil Wayne proceeded to burn through an astonishing 48-song set and several blunts, playing for an hour and a half. He dug deep into his catalog, performing some rare mixtape gems along with his platinum hits. Highlights from the show included the aforementioned “Mr. Carter,” “Go DJ,” “Hustler Musik,” Lollipop,” “Mrs. Officer,” “Every Girl,” “CoCo,” “London Roads,” I’m Goin’ In,” “6 Foot, 7 Foot,” and many more. Perhaps the night’s biggest banger was his seminal classic “A Milli.” Before launching into the track, it seemed as though the show was ending. “One more thing before we get outta here, man,” Wayne said as the crowd grew quite to hear his closing remarks. “This show ain’t f*ckin’ over!” And that signature “A Milli” beat dropped, and the place went bananas. A few tracks later, he closed the show with “No Worries.”

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Lil Wayne has been a force to be reckoned with in rap for nearly two decades. He’s sold over 100 million records worldwide. Throughout his career, he’s garnered 4 Grammy Awards, 10 BET Awards, 4 Billboard Music Awards, and 1 MTV VMA Award just to name a few. He’s recorded countless gold and platinum singles, and has the record for most songs on the Billboard Hot 100. Wayne released his latest studio effort Free Weezy in July of 2015. His much anticipated Tha Carter V is finished and is due out possibly later this year.

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Concert Review: The Soul Rebels Bring The Heart And Soul Of New Orleans To Philadelphia!

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(PCM) Having been a longtime fans of The Soul Rebels we were absolutely overjoyed to learn that the New Orlean’s based brass ensemble would be performing at the TLA in Philadelphia, PA. Despite the chilly temperatures outside, the heat was on inside the moderately packed venue as we soaked up the band’s raw energy and soulful sounds moving and grooving our way through a fantastic evening of music.

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With no opening act, The Soul Rebels immediately took to the stage and got the party started! What we adore so much about The Soul Rebels is the ability to blend together multiple genres of music to create a sound that is very much their own. While, they are a brass ensemble at the end of the day, they flawlessly unite elements of rock, pop, rap, country and soul and their music becomes a gorgeous mosaic of all these elements combined.

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The band wasted no time on stage churning out their hits such as “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” and “Off The Wall” right way which nicely set the pace for rest of what was in-store. Special guest MC Talib Kweli joined The Soul Rebels on stage for the second half of their performance and magnificently plowed through his hits “The Blast”, “I Try” and “Get Some”. The audience was delighted and while there appeared to be plenty of dedicated Soul Rebel’s fans in the house, they surely managed to convert several new fans throughout the evening as well.

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The band is about to embark on a three night residency at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl featuring special guests Big Freedia, Talib Kweli and other iconic artists, so definitely be sure to check them out! The Soul Rebels continue to chart new territory as they combine topnotch musicianship and songs with grooves that celebrate dancing, life, funk and soul.

Photography credit: Ken Schuler

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