Sundown at Granada * Dallas, TX * 01-16-20


First of all, full disclosure…I LOVE this band.  I have listened to them since their debut album in 1989.  Their videos for “Between Something and Nothing” and “Drifting, Falling” announced them to the world on Mtv’s 120 Minutes.  The next album, CERULEAN, brought one of their most beloved songs, “Ballerina Out of Control.” (video above)  Their first five albums came out over about a ten year period.  But then it was about five years until the WATERWORKS E.P. was released.  Then we really weren’t sure what was going on with the band.  No new music.  Singer/songwriter, David Schelzel, even turned to working as an attorney.  But then in 2013, after about nine years, The Ocean Blue was back with the magnificent single “Sad Night, Where is Morning?” and the album, ULTRAMARINE.  Now the band are promoting their 2019 album, KINGS AND QUEENS / KNAVES AND THIEVES.  As soon as this show was announced, we bought our tickets.  Somehow, this would be my first Ocean Blue concert.  I promised nothing would keep me from being at this show.

So we arrived at the venue early to grab a bite to eat.  We heard music and realized the band were still soundchecking.  So, of course, we went on in to be seated and were able to watch the band run through parts of a few songs.  As the band was departing, we caught David for a quick chat and photo.  Later on, we also caught bassist, Bobby Mittan, at the merch table for another chat and photo.  Both were very  pleasant and looking forward to giving everyone a good show.  Before the opening band, MOTORCADE, even took the stage, people were getting in place for The Ocean Blue.  So we went ahead and grabbed our spot up front and center.  MOTORCADE was an impressive sounding opener.  I really like “Recover.”  Then on with the main show.  “All the Way Blue” set the perfect tone.  Then they knocked out two of their best singles, “Ballerina Out of Control” and “Sad Night, Where is Morning?”.   There are no self indulgent theatrics to the show, which is perfect.  David is really the only animated one.  Everyone just goes about their business playing one good song, then the next.  Oed Ronne, guitarist/keyboardist, took his turn on lead vocals for “Ticket to Wyoming.”  He just plays like a serious musician, chewing his gum.  But we did get a kick out of his engineer hat resting atop his head.  Bobby looked happy supplying bass lines.  And drummer, Peter Anderson, played in front of a screen showing cool images or even some of the band’s old videos.

I thought “Cerulean” received a particularly big response as the opening notes started.  It is, after all, the song that contains the lyric “it’s always ocean blue.”  And it has always been one of my favorites.  I loved the jaunty new songs “It Takes So Long” and “Paraguay, My Love.”  They mixed in eight songs off the new album. Of course, everyone loves “Mercury” and “Sublime.”  And a Smiths cover always goes over well.  For a concert, I typically prefer more upbeat songs, but I was very happy and surprised to see them open the encore set with “Frozen.”  (video below)  I adore this song.  Then “Between Something and Nothing” had everyone bouncing again.  They finished with the Joy Division standard “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

After the show, the band stayed around and talked to fans.  You could tell how much it meant to everyone to see this band.  I am certain the band members heard stories about how people came to love The Ocean Blue and what the band means to them.  I hope the band enjoyed it all as much as we did.  It would have taken two more hours to squeeze in all the songs of theirs that I love.  We even got to take a pic with Oed after the show.  I am sure there are fans that have not really followed the band since the first two or three albums.  If you are one of those, you are missing out.  Each album has at least five or six songs that would easily fit on a ‘best of’ playlist.  It’s easy to catch up.  Go to their website and buy some vinyl or a CD or a shirt. (band and record label link listed below)

David has also been involved with a musical project called 5 Billion in Diamonds.  It includes the music producer and Garbage drummer, Butch Vig.  Their song, “Better If” could definitely be an Ocean Blue song.  I know David’s legal work kept him close to the music industry working with trademarks and copyrights.  He was even a city attorney.  I am certain he is an excellent attorney, but I am pretty sure I speak for a lot of people when I say we hope The Ocean Blue is a full time thing again.  And we heard speculation about more tour dates in 2020.  So I hope my second Ocean Blue concert is very soon.



  1. All the Way Blue
  2. Ballerina Out of Control
  3. Sad Night, Where is Morning?
  4. Kings and Queens
  5. It Takes So Long
  6. Drifting, Falling
  7. Paraguay, My Love
  8. There is a Light That Never Goes Out (Smiths cover)
  9. Love Doesn’t Make It Easy on Us
  10. Sea of Green
  11. Mercury
  12. Cerulean
  13. Ticket To Wyoming
  14. Slide
  15. The Limit
  16. Sublime
  17. Ask Me Jon
  18. 9PM Direction
  19. (ENCORE)  Frozen
  20.                     Between Something and Nothing
  21.                     Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division cover)


opening band, MOTORCADE.  (photo by Syya Yasotornrat)







AUGUST 17, 2019
Hardwick Hall Hotel
Sedgefield, Co, Durham

I made my first trip to the UK ever to see the Summer Sessions show in Glasgow featuring the Cure, with The Joy Formidable, The Twilight Sad, and Mogwai. I had researched looking for other bands to see while I was over there. I found the Hardwick Live Festival with Manic Street Preachers headlining Saturday. I have listened to the Manics since hearing “La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)” and “Life Becoming a Landslide” on college radio in the early ’90s. Hard to believe people in north Louisiana listened to cool British music. I have the Manics’ albums, greatest hits collections, and even B-side compilations. I judge my love for a band by how far I would travel to see them. Well, I obviously like them a lot, because I took the trip by myself through the east side of England to see them. I felt pretty certain I would never get the chance to see Manic Street Preachers in the U.S., so I figured I better seize this moment. A couple of train rides and a cab ride finally brought me to the beautiful site for this festival.

As night time crept in, James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire, and Sean Moore hit the stage accompanied by an extra guitarist and keyboardist. And to my surprise, they opened with a set-closing worthy song, “Motorcycle Emptiness”. Second was another favorite of mine, “You Stole the Sun From My Heart”, then “International Blue” off of their 2018 album. I love this song, and it easily fits in with all their famous hits. Next was “La Tristesse Durera”, probably my favorite Manics song. So I was wondering how the rest of the show would go after hearing three of my favorite Manics songs in the first four. But no worries, they have plenty of good songs. James also makes it easy to keep up with the set list by telling a bit of a story or just simply announcing the title before each song. After a long string of songs, everyone else departs, leaving James with his acoustic guitar. He performs “Ocean Spray”, then messes around with his guitar until everyone realizes he is riffing “Tequila”. When he reaches the right point, the crowd yells “Tequila”. James stops and says “I see you know the lyrics”. It was all great fun. He is then joined by piano for “Suicide is Painless”. (video below)  As the rest of the band returns, James says the next song will be one they have been playing at all their summer shows. And he announces it is just good ol’ rock and roll fun, then rips into the famous guitar intro of “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. They perform the song as well as Guns n’ Roses might wish they could do themselves. And the crowd loved it. They finish with “Tsunami”, “All Surface, No Feeling”, and the sing-a-long “Design for Life”.

To be very picky, I could have traded a couple songs for some of my personal favorites. But that is just asking too much. This set list was all you could ask for. They were a perfect headliner for the festival. It was their last show of the year. I thought I might see more scissor kicks from Nicky (ha!), but they sounded wonderful. And I have always loved James’ voice. It is powerful, like almost a scream, but always under control. It made me very happy that I went through all the trouble to get there. I never thought I would get the chance to see Manic Street Preachers. It was very improbable that I would ever see this Welsh band in concert.  I may never get to see them again, but it certainly is one of the coolest things I have done to see a band.

Tokyo Police Club - DALLAS, TX - TREES - May 7, 2014

Part of this story takes place before Tokyo Police Club ever take the stage on this night. First of all, the band last played in Dallas on February 1, 2011. I was so ready to see them then play their newest album, ‘CHAMP’. I had already bought tickets for a friend and me. My friend’s babysitter was even lined up. Nothing was going to keep us from seeing this show. Until Mother Nature stepped in with a bizarre ice storm that covered the roads from us to Dallas. The three hour trip would be very dangerous at best. Friends in Dallas told us not to risk it. We would have to risk accidents and even getting stranded, so I made the gut-wrenching decision to not go. ‘CHAMP’ is quite possibly my favorite album of the last 4 years. And the band seemed to take forever to put out the new album, “Forcefield”. So the wait for this show was agonizing. But it was finally here.


    with half of Tokyo Police Club

As I arrived at the venue, I noticed that Josh Hook (guitarist) was sitting at the merchandise table. I stood back for a while as other fans talked to him and took pictures. Later, I saw Dave Monks (vocals & bass) walk by a few times. I just observed how Josh and Dave were very appreciative and accommodating of the fans. So I finally decided to talk to Josh. He could not have been nicer or more thankful for the support fans give them. He introduced himself with a handshake, and we chatted about the infamous ice storm, song remixes, and the band’s participation with RAC (check out “Tourist”). Dave and Josh were nice enough to take a pic with me. They seem to enjoy talking and posing with fans. That’s a far cry from a lot of bands. I even talked to Josh about a bundle I had ordered from a band sponsored project on that seemed to be delayed. He asked for my information and immediately sent an email to find out more about the delay. I received an email the next day that my bundle had shipped. (coincidence? or Josh?) Opening support came from Said the Whale and Geographer. But, it was finally time for the headliner.

They opened with the epic “Argentina Pts. I, II, III”. They played all the best songs off their three albums. But the biggest cheers on the night may have come from the songs off their debut EP. I think the crowd was thoroughly surprised and pleased to hear “Nature of the Experiment” and “Cheer It On”, especially. I only remember one other show where the crowd sang word for word with the band. That was for the Refreshments, at the same venue, many years ago. These fans love Tokyo Police Club. The crowd knows the words to every song. They did a stripped down version of “Juno”, segued into “Wait Up (Boots of Danger)” with Dave leading an extended version of the song with a crowd sing-a-long. I am not sure I could pick out a favorite of the night, as I truly love every song they played. There were no duds in this setlist. They write such perfectly memorable songs. New songs, “Miserable” and “Toy Guns”, were highlights. And the crowd sang along so loudly on “Favorite Colour” that it only added to the greatness.


Tokyo Police Club at Trees in Dallas

The encore started with Dave coming out alone. He told the crowd he was going to do a song with no help from an amp or microphone. Just his voice and an acoustic guitar. But everyone HAD to be quiet. After he waited for a few ‘chatties’ at the bar, he sat at the front of the stage and did his extremely solo version of the excellent “Tessellate”. It’s one of their songs that the crowd would want to hear amped up with the full band. But there is no way anyone would complain about what they were witnessing. All I could think was that not many singers at all would do what he was doing. This was the one time that I wished the crowd had shut up and not try to sing with him. But it was excellent nonetheless. “Favorite Food” and a rousing “Your English is Good” closed out the set.

According to my count, they cruised through 21 songs. (I may have missed one. I get too caught up in listening to keep track). Their songs are not overly long. (except “Argentina”, but it’s a 3-part song). And their songs are insanely catchy. Graham Wright was multi-tasking, playing keyboards one minute, then guitar the next. And Greg Alsop kept the pace up with the drumming. Josh quietly went about his business of supplying the jaunty riffs that made everyone want pogo up and down. Dave is a great frontman. These guys write and play awesome songs. They proved that they are also nice guys. And these nice guys do deserve all the success in front of them. I just hope I don’t have to wait three years to see them again.


Tokyo Police Club


I made the three hour drive to see Ash in Dallas on a Tuesday. It was my third time to see them. I saw them on their ‘Free All Angels’ tour and again last year in this same room on their way to SXSW. The first thing to say is Ash do not put on bad shows. Their songs are perfect for the live setting. Very catchy, and very rocking. And they play with the energy and enthusiasm that you can’t help but love and appreciate. Tim Wheeler (vocals & guitar) demands attention with his singing and guitar shredding. Mark Hamilton (bass) is almost impossible not to watch. He plays his bass with impassioned spins and thrusts like a true rock star. Rick ‘ROCK’ McMurray (drums) is deserving of his nickname, as he is solid behind the kit. He does backing vocals and tonight joined Tim with a couple of humorous exchanges about Phil Collins and about xanax. I had not noticed before, but Rick sometimes (unless my eyes were deceiving me) uses the blunt end of his drumstick to jam straight into the skin for his forceful sound. Very interesting and very good. I especially like watching the drumming on ‘Goldfinger’.

They put out their first records when they were teenagers in the ’90s. Teenagers!  And those songs still sound extraordinary next to the most recent songs. They have been putting out songs for over 20 years. Unbelievable. But all the songs, old and new, are played with equal enthusiasm. They have put out a debut mini-album. Then five full length studio albums. Then the band stunned and frightened fans when they announced that they would no longer release albums. This led to a groundbreaking way to release songs, called the ‘A-Z Series’. It originally was released in digital format emailed to subscribers of the series. It featured a single for each letter of the alphabet released every two weeks. I was a subscriber to these email releases. Then last year, as they were available in cd format at the Dallas show, I bought volume 1 and 2 so that Mark could sign them (since he was actually working their merchandise booth). And to top it off, since a bit later, Tim and Rick came out to mingle with fans, I bought the 3 LP, clear vinyl edition for the whole band to sign. (which they did with no problem)

MusicChatter tries to point people to good music they have not heard, and to inform people about good music they have heard, but don’t know what it is. Too many Americans don’t know ash. Or at least they don’t know they have heard Ash. ‘Burn Baby Burn’ (and ‘Free All Angels’) should have made Ash big in the US, but different things kept that from happening. But loads of people do know Ash. They are from Northern Ireland. Ash have toured and worked with Coldplay, U2, Weezer, Moby, Dashboard Confessional, Our Lady Peace, We Are Scientists, and Dave Grohl. Ewan McGregor narrated their ‘Teenage Wildlife’ documentary. Their songs have appeared in movies, like Jackie Chan’s ‘Rumble in the Bronx’, ‘Angus’, ‘American Pie Presents: Band Camp’, and ‘Shaun of the Dead’. And they did the title track to the Ewan McGregor & Cameron Diaz film, ‘A Life Less Ordinary’. They are huge Star Wars fans, and Lucasfilms licensed their song ‘Clones’ to be used in the video game ‘Republic Commando’. They have played a private concert for Star Wars companies (Lucasfilm, Lucasarts, ILM). They have visited the infamous Skywalker Ranch. Their songs have appeared in countless video games. ‘Burn Baby Burn’ was Q magazine’s ‘Single of the Year’. It was ‘Best Single’ as voted by NME’s readers. ‘Shining Light’ was voted ‘Best Irish Single’. It won Tim ‘Best Contemporary Song’ at the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters’ Ivor Novello Awards. ‘Free All Angels’ won ‘Best Irish Album’. Q Magazine anointed Ash #2 in it’s “50 bands to see before you die” list. They started as three guys. Had a girl, Charlotte Hatherley, in the band for 9 years. Then back to the three guys. Russell Lissack (guitarist of Bloc Party) showed his appreciation of Ash by touring with them during Bloc Party’s hiatus. They have sold millions of albums worldwide. They have their own studio in New York, where they have been working on new material. We shall see what format they use to release new songs. They are doing a west coast and southwest swing before hitting the high seas with Weezer on their annual cruise.

On record, they seamlessly mix rockers with emotional, rock ballads like ‘Sometimes’, ‘Someday’, ‘Starcrossed’, and ‘Thinking About You’. They have loads of quality b-sides. My favorite b-side is probably the single-worthy ‘Stay in Love Forever’. They even do their own version of the Star Wars song ‘Cantina Band’. They do kick ass covers. Check out their rocking version of Carly Simon’s ‘Coming Around Again’. And they did a stunning rendition of ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ last year in Dallas for St. Patrick’s Day (which i think they should put on record). But their live shows basically feature nothing but one banger after another. They play an hour and a half, leaving you wishing you could hear more. They are at the point now where they could soar through two hours with nothing but songs that make you feel like pogoing up and down.

I will see Ash again in Little Rock on Saturday. But through my persuasion and (mostly) two cd’s of Ash songs I compiled, three of my friends have decided to make the three hour trek with me to attend their first Ash gig. One thing I did learn was that two 80 minute cd’s do not hold all the Ash songs that I consider essential. Nevertheless, Ash will have at least 3 new fans in attendance Saturday. As I said before, I do not believe Ash play bad shows. Their live shows are always great. These guys have been friends for over 20 years, and it shows on stage. In other countries, they play to tens of thousands of fans. Yet, here, they are humble enough to work their own merchandise booth and meet fans after shows. So if you already know Ash, spread the word. If you don’t think you know Ash, then catch up and give them a try. If songs like ‘Burn Baby Burn’, ‘Walking Barefoot’, and ‘Girl From Mars’ don’t do anything for you, then there is just no help for you. I have no doubt, my friends will love seeing Ash for the first time.




I was waiting in the line outside Trees to get my tickets from the will-call window. A guy steps through the line in front of me and tries to get the girl’s attention in the box office window. He taps out a beat on the window to no avail. I said, “I’m not sure they are using that window.” He said, “I’m trying to get in. I’m playing tonight.” I hate to admit it, but I wasn’t sure if he was with the opening band or was just full of crap. I didn’t think much of it until it hit me later, and I said “I bet that was the Haim drummer.” And as I later saw him come out of the “band only” area, I knew that it indeed was. I knew they had a guy drummer, but I did not have his face etched in my brain, like the faces of Este, Danielle, and Alana. After all, it’s not HIS face plastered on magazine covers and interviews and videos online. Even though in live sets, all three girls use drums and various percussions, they do have an official/unofficial fourth member, Dash Hutton. And on stage, he rocks.

Haim opened with “Falling”, then really got the place jumping with their latest single, “The Wire.” If you can’t find something to like about “The Wire”, then there just may be something wrong with you. The band then played their lone cover of the night, “Oh Well”. It’s a very early, funky Fleetwood Mac song, that sees Alana taking the half-spoken vocals and Danielle knocking out the bluesy guitar riffs. In what may have been the night’s highlight, Haim turned in a blistering performance of “Honey & I”. The song saw Danielle go from delivering hushed vocals to spinning and thrashing on her guitar. Just awesome. They played my favorite song of theirs, “Don’t Save Me” and followed with a playful, almost nursery rhyming ‘song’ that they jokingly (I think) said would one day be popular and sung my millions. It rhymed ‘make out’ with ‘take out’ and anything else they could think of. They came back and played “Forever”, the excellent song they played on Letterman back in June. They ended the show with all three girls using a drum to join Dash in pounding out a loud rhythm, until suddenly they stopped, and it was over.

My only tiny complaint of the night could be that I wished it had lasted longer. Two or three more songs would have been great. Their awesome cover of Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough” would have been nice. But this was definitely a show worth seeing. Haim consists of three sisters that have been playing music for as long as they can remember. They started in a band with their parents, covering the likes of the Beatles and the Eagles. Their years (or lifetimes, basically) of performing together certainly show in many ways. They are all likable and at ease with the spotlight squarely on them. They all play multiple instruments and sometimes alternate lead vocals seamlessly. They can play soft and emotional. Then they can rock in a dizzying array of instruments and long straight hair. Alana and Este do most of the talking in interviews and on stage, as Danielle seems to sit back at times and absorb things. She seems to like letting her singing and guitar playing do most of her talking. She is definitely in control of the music on stage. Danielle has already worked with Cee Lo Green and toured with Julian Casablancas (singer for the Strokes). Alana, the youngest, plays (mostly) keyboards in her “couldn’t be shorter” shorts. Este, the oldest, plays bass on the right of the stage and displays her famous ‘bass face’. I don’t even want to try to describe it. You just need to see it for yourself. I remember seeing it when I saw them on that Letterman performance, and wondering what all that was about. But she certainly doesn’t worry about it, because she doesn’t seem to worry about a lot of things that others might, and it is all about the music anyway. They are all ridiculously talented. They interact fabulously with the crowd, speaking directly to fans, telling funny stories and dropping a lot of F-bombs. They now have a #1 album. They have opened for Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Mumford & Sons, Florence + the Machine, and the xx. They even had to turn down an opening slot for Arctic Monkeys to get their debut album, ‘Days Are Gone’ just how they wanted it. They have met and sang with the biggest names in music (too many to mention here). They are golden right now. They could probably, actually turn that ‘make out’ song into a real hit. Everything they do right now is beloved. The whole world is in front of them. They will be around for a long time. They truly are the hottest band on earth.