Harry Potter Store

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Wizarding World Flagship

Largest selection of Harry Potter goods and services in the world located at 935 Broadway, New York, NY 1001.

On June 3rd 2021 a new immersive retail emporium opened its doors. Located in the Flatiron District on 23rd Street and 5th Avenue the only store of its kind in the entire world! Harry Potter New York features three floors covering everything from apparel to sweets; two virtual reality experiences with separate admissions too. There is no entrance fee to the store itself. There are many items available that fall into the range of children’s pocket money. Keychains, Pins/Badges, Magnets, Lanyards, Re-usable bags, Pens/Pencils and much more offer a dizzying array of Potter adorned goods for all would be wizards and witches.

These pen and bookmark sets from The Noble Collection are $12 each.

Give yourself at least 1 hour to look around the entire store. I spent 90 minutes on my first visit! There are amazing details at every turn. You will discover some imaginative photo ops as well including measuring yourself against Game Keeper and Holder of Keys, the Giant Hagrid!

Look up above the displays of Potter knickknacks to discover actual props used in the films as well as relics for each Hogwarts House: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw each have banners, tri wizard trophies, and other items of interest plus video displays of famous members from Harry Potter to Draco Malfoy to Luna Lovegood!

Artifacts from the Harry Potter Films on display throughout the store!

3 Floors:
The Gallery—“Chaos At Hogwarts” Virtual Reality Experience.

The Street—Atrium, Butter Beer Bar, Confectionery, Hogwarts Houses, Soft Toys and Games, Wands.

The Cellar—“Wizards Take Flight” Virtual Reality Experience, Books, Dark Arts, House Of Minilima, Jewelry, Personalization, Robes & Knitware.

Advance timed tickets are available now for the VR experiences on the Harry Potter New York website for $34 each, and tickets to the virtual reality experience include access to the store.

As of this writing the store still has a virtual queue that requires you get to the shop early to scan a QR Code posted outside to obtain a timed entrance ticket on your phone. There is no fee.

Sorting The Hogwarts’ Houses

Allowing fans of all ages to immerse themselves into this magical space begins with a gorgeously detailed main floor which is circular. First you enter the entrance atrium, with Dumbledor’s pet phoenix Fawkes suspended from the ceiling on invisible wires welcomes would be wizards and muggles (non-magical creatures) alike.

A plethora of New York exclusive merchandise including Phoenix T— Shirts, hoodies, Owl Mugs, and Christmas themed exclusives are on display for purchase.

As you enter the circular Hogwarts Castle replica pathway you will find one section after another offering everything that will light up all visitors regardless of age. An even larger version of Fawkes carved from wood sits sentry on a rotating pedestal. As you stroll around you can enjoy this magical creature from every photo worthy angle.

There are separate cubby hole style departments. Honey Dukes candy store offers chocolate frogs including a large animated one displayed above as a welcome to this wonderful area. Bright and colorful with black and white checkered floors this is sweet tooth heaven. Every confection from the books and films are available here.

Each Hogwarts House has its own section with knitted scarfs, hats, gloves, banners, keyrings, water bottles adorned with each house crest.

Exploding bon- bons, and Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans can be purchased. A wall chart lists every flavor from Banana, Black Pepper, Candyfloss, Rotten Egg, Earthworm and Earwax to Cinnamon, Green Apple, and Vomit! I will have to pick some up come Easter time!

You can purchase New York exclusive label Butterbeer in glass bottles and mugs or steins. A bottle of the sweet cream and butterscotch fizzy drink is just $6. A separate Butter Beer bar offers a $10 souvenir cup which was sold out on my visit.

There is a lamp post that animates the Wizarding World logo to beckon fans to the character wand section. Every single wand is here. Many of these wands can be personalized downstairs on the cellar level with a favorite spell or your name. The Golden Snitch Wand is an exclusive item! The wands are $38 each.

Minalima

The London based art studio now has its first US shop inside the Harry Potter Flagship in the Cellar. This company designed the graphics for all of the Harry Potter Films. Adjacent to the Books section you will find $5 cards with lenticular art reproductions of their art for the Wizard’s newspaper The Daily Prophet. Journals, stationery, and all matter of printed art including prints of artifacts from the films. Wallpaper and gift wrap adorned with The Marauder’s Map and Sirius Black’s family tree are available too!

You can discover the history of this company displayed proudly on its covered walls. At the back of the shop is the fireplace from Four Privet Drive stuffed with Hogwarts letters!

BOOKS

The arched entrance has giant sized replicas of spell books and histories of magic. Look closely and you will see a certain Gilderoy Lockhart’s bestseller! The beloved series about life during 7 years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry have NYC Harry Potter gold foil stickers on their covers for those completist collectors. Different languages, Country of Publication with variant covers are on the gorgeous shelves. Hardcovers, Paperbacks, and Box Set Editions are available. Look up to see every title in the series flying above!

That Which Must Be Named

The Dark Wizard is referred to as he who must not be named. Cleverly the section of Personalization is called the opposite. House Robes, Tri-Wizard Tournament Jerseys, Trunks, and Wands can be personalized.

Tri–Wizard Tournament Jerseys, Hogwarts Trunks, specified Wands, and Robes can get Personalized with your initials or last name.

Wizard World Associates

The staff of the Harry Potter store did not pay me to endorse their business. I write this section and all other sections of this article because I felt strongly they deserve this attention. Daniel assisted me in their Personalization area.

Every associate was wonderful answering anything I needed and were super courteous, happy to help and thrilled to be a part of this Potter adventure.

The exterior has a Wizarding World banner hanging from a Wand!
A magical clock with resting Dragon adorns the shop as well on the outside.

See you at The Harry Potter Store, New York!

Holiday Gift Guide 2021

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Yes, that time of the year is soon upon us dear readers! The holidays. Gifts. Anxiety? If you want to show anyone in your life some appreciation at year’s end look no further than this concise and affordable guide…

Subscription Boxes are available for every type of item from music to food to books to almost anything you can name. I love records. There is a terrific seasonal subscription from rockerzine that delivers a box of music related ephemera for $24.95.

Your first box will be delivered to you immediately upon ordering.  Subsequent boxes will ship on March 1st 2021, June 1st 2021, and September 1st 2021. We will send out email reminders in the month leading up to our next ship date and you are welcome to cancel your subscription at any time. Check out http://www.rockerzine.com for more information.

http://www.Toynk.com has a variety of items stretching across home & garden, clothing, and collectibles; pop franchises like Star Wars, Friends, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who can be found on their site. Prices vary but many subscription boxes fall within $24—$40 for 4 boxes in a year containing mugs, keychains, t-shirts, stickers, pins, and trading cards for pop culture themes.

http://www.Cratejoy.com has a DC comics box featuring boxes themed after Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman.

Puzzle Boxes

A wide array of wooden puzzle boxes that contain secret compartments that are only revealed when you figure out the right combination of moves are a great item to gift. Challenging and charming as well as affordable. Beginner’s boxes are $14. Much more advanced boxes can cost as much as $50. Many are designed to hold money, jewelry or small keepsakes. When not in use they make wonderful display objects. http://www.Brilliantpuzzles.com is a great site to find them.

The Metal Head Box

One of the most popular music subscription services is based in Canada—pins, tees, stickers, cds or vinyl plus an autographed item this monthly box delivers to your favorite metalhead everything they love about this genre of music.

YouTube is loaded with unboxing videos too. Check any of them out to see what it’s all about! The November box is sold out.

Mini Boxes for $19/month; 2 LP + Pin Box every month for $30/month.

https://www.themetalheadbox.com/subscribe.html for subscription options,

Black Metal Werewolf is my favorite heavy metal fan youtuber. He reviews every Metal Head Box! For beginners and old fans alike!

We Know It’s Only Rock N Roll…

We live in amazing times. Every rock group has an online presence. You have 24 hour access to some of the best merch too. One of the absolute best is even a brick and morter boutique located on Carnaby Street, London at No 9. That’s the address of the flagship Rolling Stones store! Every price point. Tommy Hillfiger has added to the growing line of denim in the collection.

Hillfiger sweatshirt with the iconic lips and tongue logo.

At 57 Carnaby Street until January 22, 2022 is Queen The Greatest, a pop-up store celebrating 50 years of the iconic British Rock Group! Play the Game with a Queen Rubik’s Cube for $28 or browse the new line from Champion! You will go GaGa over the selection. There is even a Queen pinball machine!

David Bowie Pop-Up Store In London & Manhattan

For a very limited window previewing October 25, 2021, 75 days before the anniversary, through late January 2022, the Bowie 75 locations will be up and running at 14 Heddon Street — the London location where the cover of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was shot and 150 Wooster Street — steps away from Bowie’s long-time downtown New York City neighbourhood.

The pop-ups will offer visitors a unique and immersive career-spanning deep dive into the sound and vision of David Bowie, with features including:

• Immersive audio and HD video screening rooms in partnership with 360 Reality Audio, an immersive music experience using Sony’s spatial sound technologies. With music in 360 Reality Audio, fans will be able to hear and see Bowie content available for the first time in immersive audio, exclusively in the Bowie 75 locations.

Hours of video content including previously unseen behind-the-scenes material, rare footage from the Heathen and Reality eras, and more.

• Opportunities to purchase limited edition releases of exclusive Bowie apparel and collectibles, as well as limited run LPs and CDs from both the Warner/Parlophone Records and Sony catalogues.

• Exclusive fine art photography including gallery installations documenting Bowie’s many iconic eras, personae, and Ch-changes.

• Intimate special guest events to be announced.

• Fans can place themselves in iconic costumes and set pieces to create fun and shareable social media moments.

• And more— For store hours, events calendars and other announcements and information, sign up and stay tuned to www.bowie75.com

Celebrating David Bowie’s 75th Birthday the store is an interactive experience as well as a chance to find exclusive Bowie items.

Toys R US At Macy’s

The Robo Rage is going to be $30 from $70 on Black Friday! Tye-dye sets, and Play-Doh sets are also on sale for the big annual sales day. Go to the Macy’s website for details.

This is just a sampling of the infinite. Today’s world of E-commerce has created a space that like our universe just keeps expanding. I hope this Gift Guide will help you narrow the focus….Happy Holidays!

New Records

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As we approach these last weeks of 2021 I wanted to let my readers know about some of the best albums released this past year; the albums to be released here at year’s end! Misfits have a healthy selection of records to choose from long running classic groups like Cheap Trick and Iron Maiden to more recent offerings from Mastadon and Dark Throne.

Music has been such a wonderful way to relieve the daily worries concerning the ongoing Corona virus pandemic. Despite the worldwide shortages contributing to changing release timelines for records things have been getting better.

Life here in New York City has been much more back to normal with the re-opening of Broadway shows and Movies. Concert venues also came back to life; proof of vaccinations required.

Best of 2021

Here is a list of some of the best rock/metal albums released in 2021….not definitive in any form…just my opinion alone. This year has 8 weeks to go. ABBA just released its first new studio album in 40 years! Here are my faves so far:

Alice Cooper’s Detroit Stories marks the veteran rocker’s 21st solo release. Proudly made in Detroit this collection features classic hard rock from the motor city where this genre of music was birthed. This recording hails the long awaited reunion the surviving members of The Alice Cooper Band! A solid heavy rock record from old black eyes.

Iron Maiden’s Senjutsu is another double album from the British heavy metal legends continuing their journey into progressive territory. Single “The Writing On The Wall” has a southern flavor never heard before on any previous Maiden record. The music video for this track and second single “Stratego” are both animated in the style of the 1981 cult film, Heavy Metal, and are both amazing visually, musically, and sound like nothing else in this expanding catalog of now 17 releases! The last 3 songs on this extremely satisfying platter are all written by bassist/founder Steve Harris–“The Parchment”, “The Death of the Celts”, and “Hell On Earth” all run 10 plus minutes. Maiden are the most epic band in all of Heavy Metal. In my opinion this record is probably the band’s best to date. Incredible for a band whose current line-up reunited back in 2000 and is proving to be its best.

Cheap Trick’s In Another World was ready for 2020 but delayed until now. It was worth the wait. The power pop legends’ 20th album is their best to date. Hard rocking like 1977 in 2021 is no cheap trick but a delightful treat to listen to track after amazing track. “Light Up The Fire” is a scorcher; “Another World” envisions how bright the future could be in that ballsy balladry Robin Zander still delivers like he is only 20, in this world he is in his 70’s! Their cover of John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” closes out the set. Strongly recommended.

AC/DC’s PWR UP gave us all hope upon its release. Dedicated to the late Malcolm Young who co-wrote every track and whose rhythm playing gave the band’s sound its backbone is all over this great album. For decades they have been rock’s diehard battery. This remains true here. Featuring the smash single “A Shot In The Dark” it never lets up. You will feel energized until the final notes are played. Arguably the band’s best promo videos have been created for this album. “Demon Driver”, “Witch’s Spell”, and “Mists of Time” are for my money the best trifecta in their glorious history. Let there be rock!

Helloween’s eponymous release that features the reunited German power metaller’s best work of the past decade will get you of of any doldrums transporting you into heavy metal revelry. From the opener “Out For The Glory” to “Indestructible” you will be amazed.

Mastadon’s Hushed and Grim is just another solid outing from these metallers from Georgia. Their blend of brooding dark themes and strong melody flows well here. “Pain With An Anchor” sets the tone followed by “The Crux” which just pulses away giving the proceedings a vitality it never loses. Following a concept record about Moby Dick and their prog breakthrough “Crack The Skye” this is their epic Tool inspired masterpiece.

Greta Van Fleet’s The Battle At Garden’s Gate is a great prog rock album. “My Way Soon”, “Heat Above”, “Age Of Machine” and “Broken Bells” are epic tracks. Recorded in Nashville this sophmore effort suffers no jinx. Great follow-up to their debut.

Weezer’s Van Weezer brings the world River Cuomo’s long gestating metal record with a strong tribute to late great Edward Van Halen!

Accept’s Too Mean Too Die was released back in January and remains one of the year’s crowning metal achievements. Featuring the track and video “The Undertaker” brings back all the reasons we still love Accept.

The records on this list are among the best of 2021. In the New Year records are coming from Scorpions, Saxon, JohnSix & The Creatures, and Ghost. 2022 will hopefully be the return of concerts/tours.

Thank you my dear readers for visiting Evan’s Gate!

Reversels LaSabre

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All original and one borrowed song by Pretty Boy Floyd & Story of Reversels.
Deep Glitch Art works by Matt Murphy.
Sound engineering by the impeccable Andy Bishop of Giraffe Studios. Band photo by Marquana Burgess. Production benedictions by Jennifer Love Lee. Booking by Sean Padilla of Happy Nomad Booking. Press by WolfieVibes Publicity. Radio PR by The Band Mom.💜💙

LaSabre out July 23, 2021

Hailing from Asheville, NC this duo has its origins in a birthright no human should have to experience. Each member was born to a cult that believed in reversing male vasectomy to enable procreation on a mass level.

The name Reversel is spelled this way to reverse the evil that visited their lives. To give hope to Trans Queer LGBTQ people in their infinite variety.

The music on their upcoming 3rd release represents their community quite well. Filled with dark beats, wavy vocals, and intriguing lyrics that transport its listener to a world where acceptance of our individual humanity is not just possible but a given.

You will not be able to put this record away but display it with pride. Every track pulses with its own vitality.

Gravitron deserves to be in the top 5 indie songs at year’s end.

Azael is truly haunting. The sonic grooves captured here will astonish the most jaded of listeners.

Relentless kicks in with great percussive beats and awesome baritone vocals. This song generates light.

The rest of the songs are as follows:

Absurdity/ Torch Song/ The Real Pretty Boy Floyd/ Softboy Rabbithole/ Wonderland/ Cupcake ft. Vvitchboy/ Boom Kitty/ Skin/ Dissolve/Resolve. My My.

This is a beautiful dark resonant work.

Available July 21, 2021.

Go get it!

Record Store Day!

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Saturday July 17th, 2021 is the second drop of vinyl goodies at independent shops.

From watching store owners and people who are passionate about Vinyl on YouTube there is a vast spectrum of opinions.

The consistency of this special day are the expectations people have for certain titles to appear on the release list.

As many people are disappointed as thrilled by the discovery each time out.

This is exactly the reason why going to record stores had always been a source of pure joy for me.

The record store is where I found my first Queen album! It’s where many now classic artists are found when they were new.

This Saturday I have the deep pleasure of going to one of the largest independent stores in the USA—Princeton Record Exchange in New Jersey with my best friend from high school.

Picture Vinyl, First time on Vinyl live albums from legendary artists, special singles, special color vinyl, box sets, and records being pressed for the first time since their original release sometimes decades ago.

This year Box sets feature a studio album set from Randy Newman; War has a 5 album set of color vinyl of their core catalog not seen on vinyl since the mid seventies!

Two E.P. titles are Queen+Adam Lambert Live Around The World including 2 tracks not found on the #1 album plus a 7″ Freddie Mercury song, Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow on pink vinyl packaged with the e.p.

A late addition to the release list, Foo Fighters Dee Gees features their covers of iconic Bee Gees hits and a side of their own.

Soundtracks are always big. This time out Aliens The Matrix, and Harold & Maude are being featured.

There are three volumes of rarities from The Monkees. Each title comes on color vinyl. You won’t know the color until you open it!

Live albums from Ramones, Suzi Quatro, Aretha Franklin and John Prine are limited editions.

Click this link for the list of releases:

https://recordstoreday.com/NewsItem/9578

Record Stores in NJ and NY:

Princeton Record Exchange Info:

https://www.prex.com/phone/

For info on NYC’s newest record store, Rough Trade, next door to Radio City Music Hall click below:

https://www.roughtrade.com/us

Happy Record Store Day!

Dio’s Legacy

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GEEZER BUTLER AND ALICE COOPER JOIN STAR-STUDDED LINEUP FOR JULY 10‘STAND UP AND SHOUT FOR RONNIE JAMES DIO’S BIRTHDAY’GLOBAL VIRTUAL CONCERT/FUNDRAISER BENEFITINGTHE RONNIE JAMES DIO STAND UP AND SHOUT CANCER FUND

Event Will Begin at 2PM Pacific Time from Rolling Live Studios
Tickets Now Available for Exclusive “VIP After Party” on July 11STAND UP AND SHOUT FOR RONNIE JAMES DIO’S BIRTHDAY, the star-studded global virtual concert set for Saturday, July 10 from Rolling Live Studios, has continued to add to the lineup of musical talent coming together for one-of-a-kind performances, artist interviews and special birthday messages all for a good cause. The event, hosted on rollinglivestudios.com, begins at 2:00PM Pacific time (PDT), benefiting The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund (www.diocancerfund.org), founded in memory of the late heavy metal icon who was the voice of Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and DIO before losing his battle with gastric cancer in 2010.
Tickets are now available for the VIP After Party the next day, Sunday, July 11, also at 2PM Pacific time (PDT).
The global fundraiser is bringing together celebrities and fans all over the world to honor Ronnie James Dio’s undeniable impact both on and off the stage. Rounding out the already enviable lineup are Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell) and Alice Cooper.

They are joining a stellar lineup that includes: Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Beck; Bogert & Appice); Vinny Appice (DIO, Black Sabbath); Michael Angelo Batio (Nitro, Holland, Shout); Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Jon Bon Jovi), Sebastian Bach, Joey Belladonna (Anthrax); Chuck Billy (Testament); John Bush (Armored Saint); Gilby Clarke (Guns N’ Roses, Slash’s Snakepit); Mikkey Dee (Scorpions, Motörhead); the DIO band–Oni Logan and Tim “Ripper” Owens, vocals; Simon Wright, drums; Scott Warren, keyboards; Rowan Robertson, guitar; and Bjorn Englen, bass—Aynsley Dunbar (Journey, Frank Zappa); keyboard player Steve Ferlazzo, Frank Ferrer (Guns N’ Roses); Lita Ford; Chuck Garric (Alice Cooper); Sammy Hagar (Van Halen, Chickenfoot, Montrose); Lzzy Hale (Halestorm); Rob Halford (Judas Priest); Tony™ winning singer Lena Hall (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”); Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Country Communion); Terry Ilous (Great White, XYZ); Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell); Richie Kotzen (Poison, Smith/Kotzen); LA metal band Liliac; James LoMenzo (White Lion, Slash’s Snakepit) Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses); Sean McNabb (Quiet Riot, Dokken); Jeff Pilson (Foreigner, DIO); Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne); Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, “Raiding the Rock Vault”); Glen Sobel (Alice Cooper, Hollywood Vampires); guitarist Jasmine Star; Derek St. Holmes (Vanilla Fudge, Michael Schenker Group); Tenacious D’s Jack Black and Kyle Gass; Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne); Scott Travis (Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy); Mexican rock band The Warning; Ricky Warwick (Black Star Riders) and Lajon Witherspoon (Sevendust).  

Radio and television personalities Eddie Trunk and Matt Pinfield will co-host the event, conducting interviews with artists as well as with Dio record producer Wyn Davis; concert promoter Danny Zelisko and Ronnie’s widow and longtime manager Wendy Dio, among others.

Tickets are on sale now at https://rollinglivestudios.com/dio beginning at $20 for General Admission tickets to view the show. Tickets are also available for the VIP After Party the next day, Sunday, July 11, also beginning at 2PM Pacific time (PDT). The VIP After Party will feature exclusive performances by Joey Tempest (Europe), Paul Shortino and Richie Kotzen, among others.

Interviews conducted by host Matt Pinfield, all of which will only be accessible to VIP After Party ticketholders.   

In addition to viewing tickets, Rolling Live Studios is offering special merchandise packages and virtual VIP experiences for fans to participate in this unique worldwide event. 

Bidding is open for the “Dio Ultimate Bundle Auction,” comprising rare Dio-themed items hand-picked from the vault by Wendy Dio, and for a one-of-kind Dio-themed leather jacket that will be custom made for the winning bidder by celebrated artist Carin Hazmat.  

There are many value-added items for purchase, including a “grab bag” of specially selected vintage DIO and Dio Cancer Fund event merchandise, a limited number of copies of RAINBOW IN THE DARK: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY, written by Ronnie James Dio (with Wendy Dio and Mick Wall) and signed by Wendy Dio, and specially designed event tee-shirts, baseball caps, laminates and lithographs.  

The STAND UP AND SHOUT FOR RONNIE JAMES DIO’S BIRTHDAY virtual fund-raising concert will also feature exclusive archival footage from Dio’s life and long-spanning career and never-before-seen footage from Dio Cancer Fund events held in Los Angeles since 2011 when the organization began.

Through musical performances and storytelling, a wide array of guests will celebrate the life of a man who deeply influenced their lives through his artistry and larger-than-life presence.

Throughout his career, Ronnie James Dio was a passionate supporter and contributor to charitable work and numerous animal charities.

He was an artist who was not only well respected for his talent, but also admired and loved by his peers and fans worldwide, some of which included renowned celebrities, musicians, and prominent individuals from all walks of life.
The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund (www.diocancerfund.org), dedicated to cancer prevention, research and education, has raised over $2 million in its history.

The organization’s last in-person event was its 10th Anniversary Gala held at the Avalon in Hollywood in February, 2020. Its annual RIDE FOR RONNIE Motorcycle Ride and Concert and BOWL FOR RONNIE Celebrity Bowling Tournament have been temporarily suspended as the result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

STAND UP AND SHOUT FOR RONNIE JAMES DIO’S BIRTHDAY is the latest in a lineup of stellar events produced by Rolling Live Studios.
About The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund:The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable fund formed in honor of the legendary Ronnie James Dio, who lost his life to stomach cancer on May 16, 2010.
The Press House | 615 Main Street, Suite B1, Nashville, TN

Rock’s New Old Heroes

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As the USA recovers from Covid-19 there are a couple of new releases from today’s finest rock bands to provide a much needed experience of joy.

Weezer and Twenty One Pilots are today’s new/old rock heroes. Sure Weezer has some great back catalog; Twenty One Pilots’ catalog is fewer titles but growing well.

Okay, Weezer has been around over 30 years, but remain vital as ever. Alright let’s start with the newest Weezer platter….

Van Weezer is just the right album for Summer 2021. Vocalist Rivers Cuomo had been wanting to contribute this type of modern rock n roll that salutes his love for eighties metal and hard rock.

Hero is a standout single that is on par with great Foo Fighters tracks.

Blue Dream uses the actual tab from Ozzy’s Crazy Train! And the song is totally original.

There are many flourishes of Eddie Van Halen’s playing style throughout the record hence the title Van Weezer.

The entirety of the set’s thirty minutes is pure cathartic release of why rock fans never stop wanting more no matter their age.

Twenty One Pilots have spent their Covid time recording the follow up to their concept epic Trench.

The new one is titled Scaled and Icy to reflect isolation and the scaled back way of life everyone has endured.

Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun are a great duo. On the current set singles like Choker return them to their earlier form on records like Vessel.

Do not let the surface happy pop sound fool you. The lyrics are just as complex and probing as any Tyler has done previously.

Good Day opens the set with the declaration that it’s hard to believe that today is good. Singing out is the best way to bring joy. Mr. Joseph does just that. He sounds a lot like Mika which is a great thing.

Both albums will provide plenty of happiness this Summer!

Greta Van Fleet

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The Battle At Garden’s Gate is the second studio album from a band which had been on their first world tour when Covid-19 struck.

The Battle At Garden’s Gate on Lava Republic Records

Instead of complaining about the abrupt halt to their goals they spent time reflecting on what had happened to them and to their world.

Josh Kiszka; Jake Kiszka; Sam Kiszka; Danny Wagner wrote new songs they recorded in Nashville. The result is a much more complex set of tunes in which these young musicians did something quite amazing. They found their sound. Perhaps not a signature yet but still an audible gust that sets them apart from their peers.

Tracks like My Way Soon and Heat Above revel in the freedom of making music and being able to hit the road where you can make your own rules. It’s not for nothing the band’s earlier hit was called Highway Tune.

Age of Machine displays a new side to this group. A progressive component that lifts Josh’s vocals to new heights. I think his vocals have set them apart as genuine stars in the making.

His brothers Sam and Jake form a guitar sound that is all their own. You hear a chord progression that is Greta Van Fleet’s unique stamp. A mix of progressive rock with melody rooted in 1960’s psychedelia. Not a simple feat.

Producer Greg Kurstin (Foo Fighters) has brought out something deep in their arsenal of heavy melodic soft but hard edged rock that was there on the debut Anthem of the Peaceful Army but now is on the March with opuses like Broken Bells and Built By Nations.

This album is highly recommended. With the pandemic starting to lift let’s hope we can see these guys back on the road soon.

Happy Socks & Bowie

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Mikael Söderlindh and Viktor Tell had a vision: to spread happiness by turning an everyday essential into a colorful design piece.

In 2008, socks were just socks. White, gray and black pieces of textile that were nowhere close to the fashionable and creative design piece they could become. But that was all about to change.

HELLO, HAPPY SOCKS

Happy Socks, a high-quality sock that combines unique designs and craftsmanship. (Probably) The world’s most comfortable and colorful tool for spreading happiness was born. This concept is now brought to life by Happy Socks’ talented team of creatives.

90 COUNTRIES around the world sell Happy Socks!

The perfect way to add just the right dash of color to any wardrobe with premium comfort.

In recent years the company has collaborated with The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Queen. Now they are presenting David Bowie inspired designs!

Iron Maiden

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I bought my first Iron Maiden record in 1982. “The Number of the Beast” garnered great reviews from the heavy metal community.

Here in America it also received threats from church officials as being an agent of satanism. Heavy metal music does a lot of satanic material. It just fits the genre so well. This kind of music is a tonic for many fans. I love complex guitar based music. Soaring vocals are a huge component as well.

Circus magazine wrote a response to the controversy. The article explained Iron Maiden are not devil worshippers, just devil-may-care.

I was a fan for life after that era. Their mascot Eddie, a re-animated ghoul, appears on every album cover. Created by Derek Riggs, he assumes different types and styles that fit each album’s themes and concepts.

From their eponymous debut in album to their first double studio album in 2015, the band’s music has evolved from traditional metal to a more progressive groove.

Their line-up changed several times. Original vocalist Paul DiAnno quit due to substance abuse. His replacement was Samson singer Bruce Dickinson who turned out to be their ticket to global stardom.

For two albums, Bruce was replaced by Blayze Bayley. Their 10th and 11th albums were as good as anything they had done before but fans did not like this change.

In the year 2000 the band made a huge comeback with Bruce’s return. Guitarist Adrian Smith also came back. This current line-up of the group proved to be their best.

Since the year 2000 Iron Maiden are Bruce Dickinson (Vocals), Steve Harris (Bass), Adrian Smith (Guitar), Dave Murray (Guitar), Janick Jers (Guitar), Nicko McBrain (Drums).

The past 20 years of a nearly 50 year career have produced critically acclaimed records like “Brave New World”, “A Matter of Life and Death”, “The Final Frontier”, and “The Book of Souls”.

This followed their now classic albums of the 1980’s: “Killers”, “The Number of the Beast”, “Piece of Mind”, “Powerslave”, “Somewhere in Time”, and “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son “.

A documentary film, “Flight 666”, follows Maiden on a record setting world tour in which lead singer Bruce Dickinson piloted the band’s plane called Ed Force One.

Around the world Maiden’s fan base grew not only larger but younger too. In my opinion Iron Maiden have the best fans.

In the past four decades you will have seen people wearing Iron Maiden shirts or patches or bracelets or hats.

In 1982, Eddie was a demon spawn. Then in 1983 he was condemned to the rubber room. In 1984 he was an entombed pharaoh. In 1986 he became a cyborg. In 1988 he became the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

Now in their fifth decade, Iron Maiden are nominated to the Rock Hall of Fame.

Not seeking this award, the band will continue to empower their massive audience that spans the globe with their upcoming seventeenth studio album.

Bassist Steve Harris founded the group on Christmas day 1975! He said at the end of each decade that Maiden had another ten albums in them. And their sixteen studio records all have songs that became big concert classics.

This is a snapshot song list of my favorites from the band’s ongoing career:

Remember Tomorrow

Strange World

Transylvania

Iron Maiden

Wrathchild

Running Free

Sanctuary

Murders In The Rue Morgue

Another Life

Innocent Exile

Prodigal Son

Killers

Phantom of the Opera

Die With Your Boots On

The Prisoner

The Number Of The Beast

Run To The Hills

Revelations

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Flight Of Icarus

Where Eagles Dare

The Trooper

Still Life

To Tame A Land (inspired by Dune)

Sun And Steel

Aces High

Two Minutes To Midnight

Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

Powerslave

Sea Of Madness

Somewhere In Time

Wasted Years

Stranger In A Strange Land

Moonchild

Infinite Dreams

The Clairvoyant

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

The Evil That Men Do

No Prayer For The Dying

Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter*

Holy Smoke

Public Enema Number One

Be Quick Or Be Dead

From Here To Eternity

Afraid To Shoot Strangers

Wasting Love

Judas Be My Guide

Weekend Warrior

Fear Of The Dark

Sign Of The Cross

Lord Of The Flies

Man On The Edge

The Aftermath

Judgement Of Heaven

The Unbeliever

Futureal

The Angel And The Gambler

The Clansman

The Educated Fool

Wildest Dreams

Rainmaker

Dance of Death

Paschendale

The Wicker Man

Brave New World

Blood Brothers

Out Of The Silent Planet

Different World

Brighter Than A Thousand Suns

The Pilgrim

The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg

Lord Of Light

Satellite 15…The Final Frontier

El Dorado

The Alchemist

Isle Of Avalon

Star blind

The Talisman

The Man Who Would Be King

When The Wild Wind Blows

If Eternity Should Fail

Speed Of Light

The Book Of Souls

Death Or Glory

Tears Of A Clown

Empire Of The Clouds

*The only single to reach #1 on the chart.

Up the Irons!

The list of songs above reflects how well Iron Maiden have covered their horror, science fiction, fantasy, and historical literary interests.

Their songwriting is done now by each band member. Steve Harris is their lead songwriter who composed epic songs lasting a minimum of six minutes on every record. Frontman Bruce Dickinson wrote the longest track in their history so far. “Empire Of The Clouds” runs 18 minutes!

Arguably the most epic of bands, I hope Maiden get elected to the rock hall of fame this year. They deserve this honor.

Dearest readers I leave you with a few of my favorite versions of mascot Eddie: