The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.
SAVATAGE – HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING (1987)
As the sixth year of The Cassette Chronicles was ready to kick off, I was trying to think of what album and/or band I wanted to feature in this year’s first article. I could’ve gone any number of ways but in the end, I thought I’d feature the band that I always welcome in the New Year with.
At midnight each year, I always play a Savatage album as the first music of the year. Well, being the old fart that I am, I didn’t really stay up this year so my first music choice of 2022 was delayed until I woke up in the morning.
But no matter how you look at it, I just don’t think you can go wrong with the Savatage album Hall Of The Mountain King. This was the band’s 4th studio album and though it was the first time they would collaborate with producer Paul O’Neill (who co-wrote four of the songs on the album as well), the band hadn’t yet changed their sound to the more symphonic rock/metal style of the second half of their career and when the rise of Trans-Siberian Orchestra happened. Instead, Hall Of The Mountain King fall squarely on the “power metal” side of the ledger and it just doesn’t disappoint in the least.
The first side of the album has four songs which might seem a bit short but each of these tracks is a phenomenal bit of metal. The opening song “24 Hours Ago” is the perfect kind of table setting song. The heavy and attacking musical tempo gels perfectly with a ripping vocal take from Jon Oliva and immediately seeps into your consciousness from start to finish.
Jon Oliva wrote “Beyond The Doors Of The Dark” on his own and after a slightly restrained delivery in the opening portion of the song, it just bursts out into a metallic frenzy. And Oliva sings with a devilish and gleeful evil sound to his vocals on this one. It is a simply killer track.
Both “Legions” and “Strange Wings” are hard-driving metal songs as well. Quickly paced, each track further burnishes the album’s stellar feel. I particularly love the riff that powers “Strange Wings” throughout the song.
One of the other reasons I thought of this album for the first article of the new year is because after more than a few years lost in the merchandising wilderness, Savatage has recently started offering a number of new items for sale through their website. They’ve reissued a couple albums on vinyl and have various T-shirts and other accessories available as well. One thing that I liked (but haven’t bought) was a blanket with the outstanding album cover art for Hall Of The Mountain King on it. As a devoted fan of the band despite their continued hiatus, I can just see myself curling up with that on a cold winter’s night as I listen to the band’s music.
The second side of the album features six songs with two of them being instrumentals. The first of those instrumental pieces is “Prelude To Madness”, which is inspired by the classical music piece “In The Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg. Once I found out about that connection, I actually went out and bought a Grieg compilation to hear that original music. I can’t say that I was overly taken with Grieg’s music but it’s nice to have that little tie-in as a part of my collection.
“Prelude To Madness” serves as a lead-in to the album’s title track, which is a wholly original track and not really tied to Grieg’s work. Between the scene setting musical opening establishing a cinematic vibe and the heavy feel to the rest of the music, listeners will get quite a sensory overload. When you add in the lyrics that seem straight out of a great fantasy novel and Oliva’s killer vocal performance of those lyrics, you can understand why the “Hall Of The Mountain King” song still stands out as one of the band’s best creative endeavors.
“The Price You Pay” is another great sounding heavy rocker but I really sink my teeth into “White Witch” each time I hear it. There’s a brutally precise intensity to the song that never fails to draw me in.
The album’s second instrumental is called “Last Dawn”. Guitarist Criss Oliva wrote the brief piece himself. It runs just 1:15. I like it but even all these years later I can’t decide if it is meant to stand on its own or serve as the lead-in to the album’s closing song “Devastation”.
And believe me, “Devastation” lives up to its title as Savatage quite literally lay waste and bring about the end of the world in this tale of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse setting out on their ride. It’s another killer track that grabs me every single time.
The Hall Of The Mountain King album was not my first exposure to Savatage…at least as far as I can remember. I am pretty sure I heard the song before I ever bought the album. But I know that I got the album AFTER “discovering” Savatage with the Gutter Ballet album. But that doesn’t lessen my love of this album in the slightest. I read online that Metal Hammer magazine ranked Hall Of The Mountain King as the 8th best power metal album of all-time back in 2019. I think you’d be hard-pressed to argue with that assessment (or at least to lower their ranking) because here we are during the 35th anniversary year of the album’s release and Hall Of The Mountain King still resonates as strongly now as it did when I first heard it for myself. It’s one of the many reasons why Savatage remains my favorite band.
NOTES OF INTEREST: The album has received three reissues since 1987. It was reissued in 1997, 2002 and 2011 and each time the reissues contained bonus tracks and those extra tracks were different each time.
Singer Ray Gillen (Badlands / Black Sabbath) provides background vocals on the song “Strange Wings”. He’s credited as Ray Gillian in the album’s liner notes. Bob Kinkel played keyboards on the album. He would go on to play a big role in Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Instead of listing what each member of the band played on the album, the liner notes list singer Jon Oliva as “The Grit”, guitarist Criss Oliva as “The Crunch”, drummer Steve ‘Doc’ Wacholz as “The Cannons” and bassist Johnny Lee Middleton as “The Thunder”.
If you enjoy great music, JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine is presenting three upcoming shows at the Narrows Center in Fall River, MA, including former Eagles guitarist Don Felder on March 1st, The English Beat on April 1st and The Zombies on May 1st. Read more about each show below. Tickets can be purchased at narrowscenter.org. [A direct link to purchase tickets to each artist appears at the end of each paragraph about them].
DON FELDER [MARCH 1, 2022]
Don Felder is a legendary singer-songwriter, a 1998 inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Eagles, a New York Times best-selling author, and a true American rock and roll guitar hero. Felder spent 27 years with The Eagles who own the fine distinction of recording the top-selling album of all time – Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) – which has sold over 38 million copies (and counting). He co-wrote some of the band’s biggest hits, including “Hotel California” and “Victim of Love,” and became a New York Times best selling author with his autobiography Heaven and Hell: My Life in The Eagles (1974-2001). His iconic double necked guitar was featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Play It Loudexhibit in May 2019 – the first major exhibition in an art museum dedicated entirely to the iconic instruments of rock and roll – and is currently on display in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s exhibit of the same name. He was inaugurated into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville in 2016, and the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2017. His most recent solo album American Rock ‘N’ Roll (BMG) was released on April 5, 2019. For this show, Felder will perform the hits he co-penned with the Eagles or performed for 27 years with them. Purchase tickets HERE.
THE ENGLISH BEAT [APRIL 1, 2022]
Founded in 1979 by Dave Wakeling, The English Beat is a band with an energetic mix of musical styles and a sound like no other. Their infectious sound, which crosses fluidly between ska, soul, reggae, punk and rock, has allowed them to endure for four decades and appeal to fans of all ages all over the world. Throughout their career, The English Beat has scored multi-platinum record sales, sold out shows and, most importantly, universal fan approval because they kept “The Beat” alive. The English Beat is still lead by Wakeling with an amazing all-star ska backing band that will play all their signature tunes, such as “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Save It For Later,” “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” “Hands Off, She’s Mine,” and “I Confess,” as well as some covers and songs from their 2016 album Here We Go Love, the band’s first new release since 1982’s Special Beat Service. Purchase tickets HERE.
THE ZOMBIES [MAY 1, 2022]
The Zombies scored U.S. hits in the mid- and late-1960s with “Time of the Season,” “She’s Not There,” and “Tell Her No.” Their 1968 album Odessey & Oracle is ranked 100 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The band’s live performances, described by Rolling Stone as “absolutely triumphant,” take fans on a journey through time, from their early hits…their 1968 masterpiece Odessey & Oracle…post-Zombies solo favorites such as Argent’s “Hold Your Head Up”…right to today with “Still Got That Hunger.” The Zombies are also cited as being one of the most influential UK pop/rock bands of all time. Billy Joel, Paul Weller, and the band Badly Drawn Boy are just some of the artists that have been influenced by The Zombies. Aside from The Beatles and perhaps The Beach Boys, no mid-’60s rock group wrote melodies as gorgeous as those of The Zombies. Purchase tickets HERE.
The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass. Tickets to these shows can be purchased online at narrowscenter.org or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. For those wanting to purchase tickets in person, box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.
Thanks to comedian Will Ferrell, former Blue Öyster Cult drummer Albert Bouchard’s liberal use of cowbell on the band’s FM staple, “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” might be what goes down in the music history books as his defining rock and roll moment. But Blue Öyster Cult is much more than the butt of a joke or a couple of tunes in the classic rock canon, and Bouchard’s imagination stretches well beyond the percussive stroke of genius that propels one of their biggest hits.*
Hardcore BÖC enthusiasts have long been aware of a collection of scripts and poems written by collaborator/manager Sandy Pearlman over fifty years back, entitled The Soft Doctrines of Imaginos—a secret history of the two World Wars. Think of it like a battling good-and-evil story that merges historical facts and far-flung fiction with gothic imagery, horror, elements of fairytale, and Lovecraft-inspired sci-fi.
For those that don’t know, Pearlman wrote or co-wrote many BÖC songs and often served as a co-producer on their albums. Blue Öyster Cult had utilized fragments of Pearlman’s Imaginos storyline for songs scattered throughout their first four albums, but they lacked context, so those tracks carried an added layer of mystery that intrigued listeners looking to decipher meaning from the band’s music. The song “Blue Öyster Cult”—which could be considered their defining moment—appears on the Imaginos album, which finally surfaced in 1988.
But by the time of its release, Imaginos had gone through multiple unplanned revisions. Originally begun seven years prior in 1981, the recording and release of the ambitious concept album were fraught with complications.
In the first place, it was Bouchard who’d championed the idea of developing a rock opera around Pearlman’s storyline, but he’d been officially fired from BÖC in 1981. He then planned to release the project under his name, having inked a solo deal with CBS/Columbia. But by 1984 it was clear that the label was no longer interested. Given that they owned the existing recordings, Imaginos was then reconfigured—without Bouchard’s input—as a Blue Öyster Cult album, which eventually saw the light of day four years later. In the interim, BÖC had disbanded and reformed. By that time, Aldo Nova, Joe Satriani, and The Doors’ Robby Kreiger had all played on the album and Bouchard’s lead vocals had been completely removed.
Even after all the revisions, and despite a fair amount of critical accolades, Imaginos didn’t sell particularly well. But BÖC fans knew that it had been planned as a trilogy and, in the nearly thirty-five years since its release, they’ve continually clamored for the rest of the story to materialize.
Now Bouchard is seeing it all the way through. He recorded a mostly acoustic version of Imaginos, entitled Re-Imaginos, and released it in November 2020. Then, in October of 2021, Imaginos II: Bombs Over Germany was released, featuring Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom from BÖC. Bouchard has since begun writing the third installment—the working title is Imaginos III: Mutant Reformation—which he hopes to release in 2023. And on Saturday, January 15 at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, he will perform Imaginos for the first time, in its entirety, along with selections from Imaginos II and some BÖC favorites. Paul Bielatowicz, of Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy will open the show with an abridged version of his Nosferatu score. Purchase tickets HERE.
To say it’s been a journey doesn’t really capture the winding path that Bouchard has walked to get to this point. He recently spoke with us at length from his Manhattan apartment about the process of coming full circle with this creative labor of love.
Limelight Magazine: What about this story holds so much fascination for you?
Albert Bouchard: It’s just a classic story. Maybe it’s a bit like Homer’s The Odyssey. It focuses on this person who travels through space and time and certain things happen to him and other things he makes happen and… all that kind of stuff. The original Imaginos is his origin story. And then the second episode, this last one I just put together, is where all the bad stuff starts happening. It’s the dark Empire Strikes Back part of the story.
LM: Was Star Wars inspiring?
AB: I first started visualizing the story as a whole when I was watching Star Wars, so, yes, definitely. I was also reading a book by Joseph Campbell… something about the gods and how these various myths just seem to continue playing out and how, as stories and reflections of our own experiences, they just never get old. Rather, they just keep getting retold but dressed in slightly different clothing. When I talked to Sandy about it back then he said that’s exactly right, that Campbell truly understood the value of myths in our culture. So, at that point, we started thinking beyond just this song and that song and began looking at the larger picture and how to deliver this story, musically, as a bigger piece.
LM:Was expanding it into a trilogy something that you’d discussed with Sandy from the beginning, further elaborating on his original writings, or was that an idea that came later?
AB: From what I remember, that aspect of it didn’t come together until towards the end of the time I was with BÖC. But Sandy’s original writing was epic, so it was never a story that could be easily condensed.
I’ve always found with doing this stuff that you can’t hold anything that sacred. You might find a better twist of a word or phrase that improves a song, so it’s best not to get too attached to doing something a certain way. Because when you’re talking about songs, you’re talking about rhythm and melody at the same time as you’re talking about the actual words, and you have to balance all of that out. Sandy’s writing didn’t always loan itself well to song structures because he was wordy. Wordy songs can get tricky. Originally, “The Siege and Investiture of Baron von Frankenstein’s Castle at Weisseria” was very long with lots of additional parts. Some of it was very good, but some of it was… just embarrassing. So I kept working on it. I thought the first version I did was pretty good—had a lot of nice little guitar licks in there— but Sandy said he didn’t like it. So then I redid it, and this time it was really awful. But at least I’d gotten the words to better sync with the music. That made it clearer to Sandy said we should break it into two songs, so it became “Siege and Investiture…” and “The Girl That Love Made Blind,” so that rather than forcing it to work as a suite, one was more of a ballad and the other was a heavier, angrier piece. Just scarier. More menacing.
LM: Do you think Sandy Pearlman would be happy with what you’ve done with Re-Imaginos, Bombs Over Germany, and the third installation that you’re working on? Is this true to the form he thought the story would take?
AB: I think he’d be okay with it, yes. I remember somebody in the press saying, when the original Imaginos came out, “Sandy Perlman is doing all the interviews… who wants to interview the manager?,” not grasping his contribution to the band. But he was our fifth Beatle, you know? Especially in the beginning, he was there all the time. And always with ideas and suggestions for how to make things better. And, of course, this story was his original idea.
When I was working on the first record back in the early 80s, Sandy and I were very excited. We felt as if we were doing something that hadn’t been done in rock music. The music itself seemed almost indescribable, and we had the gut feeling that it was quite good. I had a lot of great players on it who could do just about anything I asked them. So it was very intoxicating. And at the time we thought, okay, so we’ll put this out, and if it hits, I have my solo contract, we can keep going. So, we began writing songs for part two right away, but there were schedules to work around. Blue Öyster Cult and Foghat were using the same studio, so I had to take time off recording the original tracks because I couldn’t get in there and everyone had other projects they were contributing to… we couldn’t just do it all at once. During those breaks, Sandy and I worked on writing for part two and conceptualizing part three, but no songs got written for the third part at that time.
LM: Would you credit Sandy with setting the sort of ominous, mysterious tone that runs through so much of BÖC’s output?
AB: Yes, I would. He didn’t like to fill in all the blanks. So there would always be plenty of space for you to imagine what we’re talking about. He loved that. He never wanted to be nailed down to any specific meaning on any specific thing. He just enjoyed having a sort of poetic attitude about what BÖC was doing, what each song meant, what each song might suggest. He was trying to create something different. I’ll say this—we were heavily influenced by the original Alice Cooper band. But not so much their theatricality, even though that was great, but more their musical style. Initially, it was very hard to pin down what they were. I think people kind of bemoan Alice Cooper’s show now because he’s kind of taken on that heavy metal mantle with the four guitar attack, but the original Alice Cooper would do some very unusual stuff. It was as if they felt like they could do anything and get away with it, and we admired that.
LM: So, What made this the right time to get this done?
AB: This has always been something I wanted to do, but in 1987, I began working in a public school. I would play on weekends or sometimes tour with a band during vacations, but I decided to put my time into that career. I’d planned to retire at 70 to get in a good ten years of rock and roll. I’m going to be 75 in a couple of months, so time is limited for me to do the things that I want to do. And this is one of the main things that I wanted to do. In 2015, Sandy had an accident and he was in a coma. The music writer Robert Duncan was checking in on him at the hospital and sending out email updates about his prognosis. I wrote back to Robert and said I want to go and see him because I had all these things I wanted to talk to him about, one of them being about finishing this trilogy idea. We had songs that we’d started to write and never finished. I wanted his input. Fans were saying I should do my own version, asking if it’ll ever get finished, and I would always say I’d have to have Sandy Pearlman help me because it was his idea. I couldn’t just go and do it without him. I wouldn’t even think of it, really, just out of respect for my friend. He eventually came out of the coma, I went to the hospital and told him that he had to get better because I wanted to complete the trilogy. And then, in the end, he didn’t make it. He never really regained his faculties. He was conscious and could hear what people were saying. He could communicate by moving his left index finger or that kind of thing, but he really couldn’t have a conversation. He could just acknowledge if he understood or not.
LM: It must have been challenging to deal with what happened to the original Imaginos album since this was your solo project with Sandy, and then it was released as a BÖC album that you’d lost creative control over. There are a lot of stories about various betrayals on the parts of both the band and the label. How did you feel at the time?
AB: Well, you know, emotions can cloud our perception of things. So when the record finally came out, I was very unhappy. I felt like the mixes weren’t good. What I’d heard when we cut the basic tracks was so much better, but it was six years since I’d cut those tracks and it’d been worked on, on and off, for those six years. Everything was on tape at that time, and every time you play the tape, it deteriorates a little. So there was that problem. They replaced my vocals, which I wasn’t thrilled about, but I have to admit that the vocals were largely an improvement. Donald Roeser’s—you know, Buck Dharma—versions of my vocals were excellent. Much better than I could do. For the most part. Eric Bloom did a great job… at least as good as I did, if not better. And Joseph Cerisano, thank God they used some of his stuff. I heard this rumor that Columbia didn’t like the vocals and that’s why they weren’t behind the record. But you’ve got to figure it was Al Teller and Donnie Lenner running the show at that point… anybody who knows what was going on at Columbia in those days knows those guys didn’t have a clue. Al Teller was an accountant and Donnie was his buddy. So, what does that tell you? Clive Davis was gone. Bruce Lundvall was gone. All the people with ears for music were all gone. And the people that’d signed me to the solo deal were all gone. All we had were these accountant guys, and they had no interest in music. Then they brought in Tommy Mottola to keep it from becoming a total disaster. At the time, I was extremely angry with the record company, that they wouldn’t put it out as my record, that they would only put it out as Blue Öyster Cult, you know, and Blue Öyster Cult… they did the best they could do under the circumstances.
LM: Have you been able to reconcile all that upset?
AB: For the most part, yes. What was even more mind-blowing was that the label led me to believe that, since my solo project had been folded into a Blue Öyster Cult project, I would be back in the band when they toured Greece in 1987, just before Imaginos came out. And then the band informed me that they had never agreed to that and that they’d hired other people for those gigs. They said they had no idea the label had made any such promises to me. I was really angry about that, too, but they didn’t know anything about the conversation I’d had, so I couldn’t blame them.
That was the same year I’d gotten the job at the school, but working in a school hadn’t changed me yet. Becoming a teacher is a very solitary kind of thing, in a way, because it’s just you and the kids in your classroom, and nobody’s going to help you. You have to just sort it out on your own. On the other hand, working in education, you’re always examining your practice. And you invite other teachers to give you feedback. The amount of meetings that get scheduled is extremely annoying, but over time, it changed me for the better. I became able to separate my ego and look at the process rather than the product. I think that has made me a better person—much more responsible and much more patient. As a teacher, you have to be extremely patient, and you have to be able to present things in more than one way. And believe it or not, this has helped me deal with what happened back then.
LM: There was some debt to the label, too, right?
AB: Yes. I was three-quarters of a million dollars in debt to Columbia, which is why the band thought by not letting me back in they were doing me a favor… I wouldn’t have gotten any royalties for years, you know? We’ve talked about it since then. BÖC basically absorbed my debt for the solo recordings. I guess you could say that ‘Reaper’ started paying for Imaginos. So how can I complain about that?
LM: When you think about performing this work, is it daunting? Who’s in the band you’ve assembled?
AB: Not daunting to me, no, I could go into a club tomorrow and play the whole thing! I’ve set up a group of six, including myself. I’m going to be playing mostly acoustic guitar… or maybe an electric guitar that sounds like an acoustic. It’s a hybrid of the two guitars that are the backbone of all the Imaginos songs. It was just a concept in my mind, but I explained it to my luthier and he said he could do it, so we’ll see. Supposedly, I’m getting it this week. But the main, lead guitar player is going to be Mike Fornatele, who I met at a party hosted by May Pang, John Lennon’s ex-girlfriend. She has three parties every year and he’s always there, so that’s how we originally met. Then I did a gig with him and my brother backing up Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere and the Raiders. My brother, Joe Bouchard, is playing keyboards, trumpet, and flute. Cyzon Griffin will be on drums, this amazingly talented 26-year-old guy that I met when he was busking in Central Park. He reminds me of Larnell Lewis from Snarky Puppy. David Hirschberg, who’s on all the new Imaginos material, will play bass. And then we have Dana McCoy, who played ukulele and keyboards and sang on some of these songs, and hopefully, she’ll be joining us. We’ve been rehearsing!
The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River. Tickets are $38 advance and $43 day of show.
*Actually, the cowbell was producer David Lucas’s idea, but it was Bouchard who decided to use a timpani mallet to beat the bell, thus producing an unusual tone on the final track.
FALL RIVER — Armed with nothing but a stool, a microphone and a can of Diet Pepsi, comedian Paula Poundstone is coming to the Narrows Center in Fall River, MA, on Saturday, January 22, 2022. Purchase tickets HERE.
Poundstone began nurturing her stand up comedy talent in 1979 as part of the Boston comedy scene. Since then, her ability to create humor on the spot has become the stuff of a legend. Little wonder people leave her shows debating whether the random people she talked to were “plants”—which, of course they never are, and complaining that their cheeks hurt from laughter.
Poundstone’s spontaneity and razor-sharp wit have made her one of the most popular panelists on NPR’s hilarious weekly news quiz show, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, and her commentaries can be heard on NPR’s Morning Edition and read on the Huffington Post. Her first book, There’s Nothing In This Book That I Meant To Say, (with a foreword by Mary Tyler Moore) was published by Random House in 2007. Her second book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, was published last year. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon best sellers lists in Humor in Hardcover, Audible, Kindle and CD within its first ten days of release and is now out in paperback. The audio book, read by Paula, was one of five finalists for the 2018 Audio Book of the Year.
Poundstone’s guest appearances include The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Star Talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Late Night with Carson Daly, Nerdist with Chris Hardwick, and she was a clue in a New York Times crossword puzzle. She’s filed commentaries for CBS Sunday Morning and Morning Edition and All Things Considered for NPR. She voices the character “Paulette” in Cartoon Network’s new animated series Summer Camp Island. An avid Disney movie fan, Paula had a dream come true when she was cast to voice the character “Forgetter Paula” in Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, winner of the 2017 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
Poundstone has had numerous HBO specials and starred in her own series on HBO and ABC. Her second special for HBO, Paula Poundstone goes to Harvard, marked the first time the elite university allowed its name to be used in the title of a television show.
Poundstone was the first woman, in its then 73rd year, to perform standup comedy at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. She won an American Comedy Award for Best Female Standup Comic and is recognized in innumerable lists, documentaries, and literary compendiums noting influential standup comedians of our time.
The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River. Tickets are $48 advance and $53 day of show. Tickets can be purchased HERE.
On the fourth Friday of every month throughout 2021, Limelight Magazine spotlighted the filming location site(s) we visited for some of our favorite (and not so favorite) films and TV shows. Here is a recap of all the locations we featured this year. Click on the name of the movie or TV show to see each of them.
With pandemic restrictions being lifted, we saw 53 movies in a theatrical setting this year, along with 188 others on physical media or through streaming services. Overall, it was another solid year for filmmaking even though we found many of the hyped films to be underwhelming.
While many veteran filmmakers made our top 10 list, we had three feature film debuts this year with The Power, Censor and Saint Maud. This is the most we’ve ever had on our year-ending list. It should be noted that all of these films were directed by women who blew us away with their direction behind the camera. We cannot wait to see what’s next from Corinna Faith, Prano Bailey-Bond and Rose Glass.
As with any list, we have not viewed every film released in 2021, but these were the 10 that stood out above the rest. Like last year, we are only including each film’s synopsis. We hate spoilers and trailers that give everything away. We firmly believe not knowing too much is the best way to view most of these great films.
Disclaimer: This list is based on films we’ve seen as of Dec. 31, 2021. It could be adjusted in the future as we view other films from 2021 in early 2022.
1. Last Night In Soho (directed by Edgar Wright)
SYNOPOSIS: A young girl, passionate about fashion design, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters her idol, a dazzling wannabe singer. But 1960s London is not what it seems, and time seems to be falling apart with shady consequences.
2. Come True (directed by Anthony Scott Burns)
SYNOPOSIS: Looking for an escape from her recurring nightmares, 18-year-old Sarah submits to a university sleep study, but soon realizes she’s become the conduit to a frightening new discovery.
3. Nightmare Alley (directed by Guillermo del Toro)
SYNOPOSIS: An ambitious young carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is.
4. The Power (directed by Corinna Faith)
SYNOPOSIS: London, 1974. As Britain prepares for electrical blackouts to sweep across the country, trainee nurse Val arrives for her first day at the crumbling East London Royal Infirmary. With most of the patients and staff evacuated to another hospital, Val is forced to work the night shift, finding herself in a dark, near empty building. Within these walls lies a deadly secret, forcing Val to face both her own traumatic past and deepest fears.
5. Censor (directed by Prano Bailey-Bond)
SYNOPOSIS: Film censor Enid takes pride in her meticulous work, guarding unsuspecting audiences from the deleterious effects of watching the gore-filled decapitations and eye gougings she pores over. Her sense of duty to protect is amplified by guilt over her inability to recall details of the long-ago disappearance of her sister, recently declared dead in absentia. When Enid is assigned to review a disturbing film from the archive that echoes her hazy childhood memories, she begins to unravel how this eerie work might be tied to her past.
6. Saint Maud (directed by Rose Glass)
SYNOPOSIS: Having recently found God, self-effacing young nurse Maud arrives at a plush home to care for Amanda, a hedonistic dancer left frail from a chronic illness. When a chance encounter with a former colleague throws up hints of a dark past, it becomes clear there is more to sweet Maud than meets the eye.
7. Don’t Look Up (directed by Adam McKay)
SYNOPOSIS: Two low-level astronomers, upon discovering that a meteor will strike the Earth in six months, go on a media tour to try to warn the world but find an unreceptive and unbelieving populace.
8. Nobody (directed by Ilya Naishuller)
SYNOPOSIS: Hutch Mansell, a suburban dad, overlooked husband, nothing neighbor — a “nobody.” When two thieves break into his home one night, Hutch’s unknown long-simmering rage is ignited and propels him on a brutal path that will uncover dark secrets he fought to leave behind.
9. Werewolves Within (directed by Josh Ruben)
SYNOPOSIS: When a proposed pipeline creates hostilities between residents of a small town, a newly-arrived forest ranger must keep the peace after a snowstorm confines the townspeople to an old lodge. But when a mysterious creature begins terrorizing the group, their worst tendencies and prejudices rise to the surface, and it is up to the ranger to keep the residents alive, both from each other and the monster which plagues them.
10. House of Gucci (directed by Ridley Scott)
SYNOPOSIS: The true story of how Patrizia Reggiani plotted to kill her husband Maurizio Gucci, the grandson of renowned fashion designer Guccio Gucci.
Rather then rank our top 10 albums of the year and write about them as we have done in the past, the co-owners of Limelight Magazine decided to post those that resonated with us the most in 2021. They are listed alphabetically by artist name and we encourage you to check them out. Were any of these among your favorites of the year?
Every Sunday Limelight Magazine featured an album from 30 years ago that we had an actual ad taken from a magazine from that year on our social media pages. Here are all the ads that were featured in 2021.
Don Felder, who was a former lead guitarist of the Eagles for 27 years, will make his debut appearance at the Narrows Center in Fall River, MA, on March 1, 2022. He will perform the hits he co-penned or performed with the Eagles, such as “Hotel California,” “Victim of Love,” “One Of These Nights,” “Heartache Tonight,” and many more with a full band. This show is expected to sellout quickly. Purchase tickets HERE.
Felder is a legendary singer-songwriter, a 1998 inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Eagles, a New York Times best-selling author, and a true American rock and roll guitar hero. Felder spent 27 years with the Eagles, recording the classic albums One Of These Nights, Hotel California, and The Long Run, and the live albums Eagles Live and Hell Freezes Over. With the Eagles, the band owns the fine distinction of recording the top-selling album of all time – Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) – which has sold over 38 million copies (and counting). He also co-wrote some of the band’s biggest hits, including “Hotel California” and “Victim of Love,” and became a New York Times best selling author with his autobiography Heaven and Hell: My Life in The Eagles (1974-2001). His iconic double necked guitar was featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Play It Loudexhibit in May 2019 – the first major exhibition in an art museum dedicated entirely to the iconic instruments of rock and roll – and is currently on display in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s exhibit of the same name. He was inaugurated into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville in 2016, and the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2017. His most recent solo album American Rock ‘N’ Roll (BMG) was released on April 5, 2019.
The Narrow Center for the Arts is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, MA. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking HERE or calling the box office at324-1926.
In celebration of John 5 and The Creatures new album, Sinner, the band will be going on tour with a stop at the Vault Music Hall in New Bedford, MA, on May 12, 2022. The tour will feature support from The Haxans (featuring Ashley Costello of New Years Day and Piggy D of Rob Zombie). This concert is presented by JKB Management and Booking. Tickets can be purchased HERE.
For almost 30 years, John 5 has been one of the most in-demand guitar players on the planet. As well as a guitarist for hire, John 5 has shared the stage as axe-man for Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Rob Halford. He has also worked with an impressive array of names, from all walks of music, including KD Lang, Rod Stewart, Dave Lee Roth, Alice Cooper, Tina Guo and Steven Adler.
To call John 5 a shredder does not do him justice. There’s little he can’t put his hand to.
John 5 was born John William Lowery, on July 31st 1970, in Gross Pointe Michigan. His love of guitar began at age seven, when he began watching the Hee Haw series with his father. “I watched the guitar playing and knew that was what I wanted to do. My friends wanted to be astronauts and such but all I wanted to do was play and play and play”. Other notable influences included KISS and Jimi Hendrix.
John 5’s solo career turned out not to be a flash in the pan, and he has now released ten studio albums, two live albums and a remix album. He has worked with several special guests on those albums, including Albert Lee who called John 5 “one of the nicest guys I’ve worked with,” Steve Vai who called John “underrated,” Joe Satriani, Jim Root, Eric Johnson and many more. As well as his solo albums John 5 teamed up with the vocal talents of Joe Grah (formerly of Texas band Jibe) to form “radio rock project” Loser. Their first single, “Disposable Sunshine” was featured on the Fantastic Four soundtrack.
In 2006, John 5 was invited to join Rob Zombie for a short Ozzfest tour. Despite being told “not to get too comfortable,” the pairing brought a resurgence in Zombie, who at the point was turning his hand to directing movies and taking a break from music, they began work on 2006’s ‘Educated Horses’. As a consequence, John 5 had to make the decision to leave his fledgling band Loser. “Being the founding member of Loser, my decision to leave was not an easy one.”
In 2015, following a series of web shows to celebrate the release of his solo album Careful With That Axe, John 5 decided to take his solo set on tour, and formed The Creatures band to support his live shows. Initially joined by long-term friend Rodger Carter on drums, the band continues touring to this day, and now work as a unit on John 5’s solo albums. The current line-up includes John 5, Ian Ross on bass and drummer Logan Miles Nix.
The Vault Music Hall is located at located at 791 Purchase Street in New Bedford, Mass. The venue is set within a former bank building featuring original vault doors and a truly historic feel.
MUST BE 21 or OLDER with Valid ID for Entry.
Bringing great entertainment to New England since 2011!