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LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE’S TOP 25 HORROR FILMS OF 2019

2019 was another great year for horror movies, capping off what is arguably the best decade for this genre in cinematic history. While there were a number of great films that could be classified as horror based on their content, such as Jennifer Kent’s sophomore feature The Nightingale and Jen McGowan’s Rust Creek, this list will only include those classified as horror films. 18 of these films we were fortunate enough to see theatrically with an audience, while the other three we had to either watch on physical media or streaming. Please note that this is not a “best of” list like other publications have done but rather a list of our 25 personal favorites. (As we always note when creating a list like this, we haven’t seen every horror film this year but these are our favorites as of today’s posting date).

  1. Us

2. Doctor Sleep

3. The Nightshifter

4. Midsommar

5. Happy Death Day 2 U

6. Climax

7. Trespassers

8. Ma

9. The Perfection

10. The Lighthouse

11. The Hole in the Ground

12. The Prodigy

13. Ready or Not

14. Pet Sematary

15. Brightburn

16. Bliss

17. Escape Room

18. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

19. Child’s Play 

20. Crawl

21. Harpoon

22. I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu

23. The Wind

24.  Mary

25. I Trapped the Devil

Limelight Magazine’s Top 10 Concerts of 2019

In 2019, we attended 25 concerts, which is up from 21 in 2018. This year, we traveled outside of New England several times to see some great shows, including Las Vegas, NV, to see Lady Gaga; Grand Prairie, TX, to see Lost 80s Live featuring A Flock of Seagulls, Missing Persons, Thomas Dolby, The Tubes, The Motels,  Wang Chung, Farrington + Mann The Original When In Rome UK, Real Life,  The Escape Club, The Vapors,  Boys Don’t Cry, Anything Box, Trans X, & Christopher Anton; Buffalo, NY, to see Berlin with Leigh Nash; and Philadelphia, PA, to see Jeff Lynne’s ELO with Dhani Harrison. Of those acts we saw in New England, it was the first time in 30 years seeing Tesla and 23 years seeing Alanis Morissette. This year also marked the 19th time we’ve seen both Dream Theater and YES, which are the most we’ve seen any artist in concert. So, without further ado, here is Limelight Magazine’s top 10 concerts of 2019, which is followed by the complete list of shows we’ve seen this year [with notations for those artists we saw for the first time]. (Please note: this list does not include any shows booked by JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine in 2019).

 Top 10 Concerts of 2019

  1. Jeff Lynne’s ELO w/Dhani Harrison @ Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA , & Tool @ TD Garden, Boston, MA [tie]
  2. King Crimson @ Boch Center, Boston, MA
  3. Riverside w/Contrive@ Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
  4. Lady Gaga @ Park Theater, Las Vegas, NV
  5. Queen + Adam Lambert @ Xfinity Center, Mansfield, MA
  6. Ghost with Nothing More @ Cross Insurance Arena, Portland, MA
  7. Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets @ Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
  8. Mott the Hoople w/Dream Syndicate @ Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
  9. King Diamond @ Worcester Palladium, Worcester, MA
  10. Disturbed with Three Days Grace @ DCU Center, Worcester, MA

Complete List of Concerts for 2019

  • February 27 – Disturbed with Three Days Grace @ DCU Center, Worcester, MA
  • March 1 – The Wall Live Extravaganza @ Strand Theatre, Providence, RI [FIRST TIME]
  • March 10 – Dokken @ Vault Music Hall, New Bedford, MA
  • April 8 – Dream Theater @ Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
  • April 9 – Mott the Hoople w/Dream Syndicate @ Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA [FIRST TIME]
  • April 13 – Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets @ Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA [FIRST TIME]
  • May 11 – Metal Church & Doro @ Greasy Luck, New Bedford, MA
  • May 12 – Riverside w/Contrive@ Sinclair, Cambridge, MA [FIRST TIME]
  • June 9 – Collective Soul w/Gin Blossoms, Bold Point Park, Providence, RI [FIRST TIME GIN BLOSSOMS]
  • June 30 – Yes with Asia, John Lodge & Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy @ Bold Point Park, Providence, RI
  • July 13 – Jeff Lynne’s ELO w/Dhani Harrison @ Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA [FIRST TIME]
  • August 1 – Lost 80s Live featuring A Flock of Seagulls, The Motels, Farrington + Mann The Original When In Rome UK, Real Life, The Vapors, Boys Don’t Cry @ Lynn Memorial Auditorium, Lynne, MA [FIRST TIME]
  • August 4 – Queen + Adam Lambert @ Xfinity Center, Mansfield, MA [FIRST TIME WITH ADAM LAMBERT]
  • August 8 – Tesla @ Fox Theatre, Ledyard, CT
  • August 24 – Lost 80s Live featuring A Flock of Seagulls, Thomas Dolby, The Tubes, Missing Persons, The Motels,  Wang Chung, Farrington + Mann The Original When In Rome UK, Real Life, The Escape Club, The Vapors,  Boys Don’t Cry, Anything Box, Trans X, & Christopher Anton @ Theater at Grand Prairie, Grand Prairie, TX [FIRST TIME, EXCEPT MISSING PERSONS, THOMAS DOLBY, WANG CHUNG & TRANS X]
  • September 8 – Stone Temple Pilots @ Fox Theatre, Ledyard, CT
  • September 19 – King Crimson @ Boch Center, Boston, MA
  • September 21 – Berlin with Leigh Nash @ Riviera Theatre, Buffalo, NY [FIRST TIME LEIGH NASH]
  • October 12 – Loverboy @ Twin River Event Center, Lincoln, RI [FIRST TIME]
  • October 19 – Ghost with Nothing More @ Cross Insurance Arena, Portland, ME [FIRST TIME NOTHING MORE]
  • October 23 – Lady Gaga @ Park Theater, Las Vegas, NV
  • November 8 – King Diamond @ Worcester Palladium, Worcester, MA
  • November 14 – Tool @ TD Garden, Boston, MA
  • November 24 – The Pineapple Thief w/Randy McStine @ Sinclair, Cambridge, MA [FIRST TIME]
  • December 7 – Alanis Morissette @ Fox Theatre, Ledyard, CT

Howard Jones to perform at Narrows Center in Fall River, MA

Howard Jones, who is most famous for his songs “Things Can Only Get Better,” “No One Is To Blame,” “What is Love?,” and “Like To Get To Know You Well,” will make his debut performance at the Narrows Center in Fall River, MA, on March 17th. Joining him on stage will be Nick Beggs (Kajagoogoo, Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett, John Paul Jones) on chapman stick and Robin Boult (Roger Daltry, Dave Stewart, Fish) on guitar. They will deliver a fresh take on Howard’s best-known hits, fan favorites and more. Purchase tickets HERE.

Jones has been a constant presence on the international touring scene for the past three decades, playing live in a number of different configurations including intimate solo shows and dates with his full high-tech band set-up. His new show will also provide the opportunity for the audience to hear first-hand about the inspiration behind Howard’s beloved material as well as stories from his touring career.

Jones first burst upon the contemporary music scene in 1983, with his very English songwriting and pioneering synthesizers. His first two albums HUMAN’S LIB and DREAM INTO ACTION were worldwide hits. HUMAN’S LIB reached #1 in 1984 in the UK and featured the hits “New Song,” and “What Is Love?” In 1985, Jones released the follow-up, DREAM INTO ACTION, which quickly became a Top Ten platinum album in the United States and featured the smashes: “Things Can Only Get Better,” “Life In One Day,” “No One Is To Blame,” and “Like To Get To Know You Well.” Howard Jones has sold over eight million albums worldwide and continues to make new music and tour the world.

His most recent album is TRANSFORM, his first new studio album in nearly a decade. Released in 2019 to critical acclaim, TRANSFORM features several collaborations with electronica luminary BT. Of the album, Paste avowed, “TRANSFORM is remarkably consistent to Jones’ lush brand of synthpop…a balance of what is familiar and what is innovative, new magic from old spells” while Pop Matters declared the album to contain “dazzling synth sounds, catchy melodies and introspective and life-affirming lyrics – but with a contemporary feel.”

Jones recently performed on NBC’s top-rated morning and nighttime shows respectively, Today and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He’s excited to take his trio on the road to perform his hits, fan favorite sand new songs from TRANSFORM.

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street. Tickets can be purchase 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.

howard-jones-acoustic-photo2

The Cassette Chronicles – Julian Lennon’s ‘Valotte’

By JAY ROBERTS

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.

JULIAN LENNON – VALOTTE (1984)

When I dug this album out of the Big Box of Cassettes, I was brought back to 1984 and reminded of the time when I first heard the title track to the album. I can’t remember if it was part of the regular rotation on 92 Pro FM out of Providence, Rhode Island or if it was on their Sunday morning broadcast of American Top 40 with Casey Kasem, but for some reason the song struck a chord with me.

But in all honesty, I really haven’t thought much about the song over the last 35 plus years. I never owned the album itself and while I’d heard “Too Late For Goodbyes” over the years, I had no current knowledge of the “Valotte” song. So it was a little bit of a disappointing surprise to me that as I heard it as an “almost-new” song, I was left wondering why I loved it so much back then. While I still think it is a decent song, I found that the track just had a different tone to me than I had remembered from back in the day. I don’t know if it just was that it seemed somehow slower in tempo than I remembered or what, but it just wasn’t the same to me.

But as that song faded, I had to quickly turn the page and get on with my impressions of the rest of the album. As I said, this was the first time I’d heard the official album in total so there was some discoveries to be made.

The first side of the album was packed with some really intriguing songs. “O.K. For You” had a earworm of a guitar sound to it. The track had an uptempo bounce to it, which was nice considering it followed the “Valotte” song, so the energy pick me up was a nice immediate change of pace. I also really got into the song “On The Phone” which featured a big band sound particularly in the middle of the song.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that about the song “Space”. I thought the presentation of the song was more than a bit hazy, as if Lennon was casting about for some definitive direction and just never really found it. Overall, I thought this one was kind of drag.

But Side One finished strong with “Well I Don’t Know”. It featured an uptick in the music’s pacing and the song, which was written for Lennon’s father John (and if I have to explain that connection further, stop reading this article!), ended up being a rather interesting musical nugget.

As for Side Two, that opened up with the aforementioned “Too Late For Goodbyes”. I’d like to say that I remembered that this song was on the album BEFORE I listened to it but I’d be lying. However, I did remember the song and whether it was due to actually having heard it over the years or just because it hit me stronger, it is my favorite cut on the album overtaking my initial belief back in 1984 that I liked “Valotte” more as a song.

I can’t say I was completely into “Lonely” or the closing piano based “Let Me Be” but I did quite enjoy “Jesse” and “Say You’re Wrong”, which had a crackling urgency fused with a really cool pop sensibility to it.

Julian Lennon has released six solo albums over his career, but Valotte is by far his most successful in terms of sales and chart success. I have to say that I had a great time experiencing this album for the first time. There may be songs on it that didn’t quite cut the mustard with me, but perfect albums being few and far between, it was still a thrill to discover new songs that actually did make my musical heart go all pitter-patter.

I know that fans of The Beatles will likely lay claim to some of the music’s influences belonging to the Fab Four, but if you like straightforward pop music (that would now be referred to as Adult Contemporary), you’ll find that Julian Lennon’s first solo album Valotte has him standing quite capably on his own two feet.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The Valotte album (which was certified platinum) was produced by Phil Ramone. His list of credits is both extensive and a who’s who of some of the biggest names in music history. He would win 14 Grammys for his work before his death in 2013.

The “Valotte” song hit #9 on the singles chart, while “Too Late For Goodbyes” went to #5. The latter is Julian Lennon’s most successful single. The videos for both songs were directed by the legendary movie director Sam Peckinpagh.

 

Appice Brothers bring ‘Drum Wars’ rock band to New Bedford, MA

Carmine and Vinny Appice, two demi-gods of the drums, have conquered the rock world for decades and are now conquering the world with their own rock show backed by a stellar band called “Drum Wars.” Besides the Appice Brothers, the band includes Jim Crean (vocals), Jimmy Caputo (bass) and Artie Dillon (guitar) and they will perform at the Vault Music Hall in New Bedford, MA, on Saturday, February 1, 2020, with special guest “Guitar Wars” featuring Paul Bielatowicz (of  Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy and Neal Morse) and Ethan Brosh (of Fifth Angel). Purchase tickets HERE.

“Drum Wars” is not a drum clinic but a high energy, mind blowing LIVE rock CONCERT with legendary songs played with vehemence from throughout their careers.

Hear the greatest hits of Black Sabbath, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart, Blue Murder and more, performed by the brothers with the amazing “Drum Wars” band!

ABOUT CARMINE APPICE

Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne and Jeff Beck to name a few) is the recipient of numerous awards including Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame, and dozens of gold and platinum selling records. Carmine co-wrote such monster selling hits as “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks.” He has broken new ground in every aspect of his career.

As a performer, as a teacher, and as a writer, he continues to inspire drummers and listeners throughout the world with his originality and his unwavering dedication to the art of drumming. In 2016, Carmine unleashed his book titled “STICK IT – My Life of SEX, DRUMS, AND ROCK ‘N’ ROLL.”

ABOUT VINNY APPICE

Vinny Appice’s unique, powerful drumming is marked not by his performances with a single group, but by his flawless musical contributions and drumming to an extensive list of rock and roll icons like Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio, Heaven & Hell, Rick Derringer, John Lennon and more!

A consummate performer and drummer, Vinny is also a brilliant clinician, performing clinics and master classes all across the globe, as well as making appearances in films and television. Vinny can be heard on rock classic albums like Black Sabbath’s “Mob Rules” and Dio’s “Holy Diver” & “Last in Line.”

The Vault at Greasy Luck is located at located at 791 Purchase Street in New Bedford. This show is 21+ with valid I.D. The venue is set within a former bank building featuring original vault doors and a truly historic feel. Patrons have raved about the superior acoustics and intimate setting.

The Cassette Chronicles – The Cult’s ‘Sonic Temple’

By JAY ROBERTS

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.

THE CULT – SONIC TEMPLE (1989)

Before popping in the cassette to give The Cult’s Sonic Temple album a listen so that I could write this article, I had to think back to my recollections of the album from when it was first released and the subsequent tour opening for Metallica when I got to see the band perform live.

The album eventually spawned four singles and I actually did quite enjoy them all on their own. Whether on MTV or the radio, each time “Fire Woman” started playing my ears perked up. The other singles put out had a similar effect. But the strange thing is that I remember being more than a little disappointed when I actually got my hands on a copy of the album. I remember thinking that the rest of the material just didn’t really do much for me.

Now that I’ve given this now thirty year old release a new listen, I’ve had a pretty drastic change of opinion about the album as a whole. But there was a 2nd reason why I kind of gave up on The Cult after this album and that goes back to when I saw them live.

I’ve told the story to people before so anyone that knows me in real life will likely already know what I’m about to write here. Frankly put, singer Ian Astbury was the LAZIEST live performer I’ve ever seen. When I saw them open for Metallica, I noticed that something was off with the vocals and then I started doing that damn counting thing I sometimes do. Sure enough, Astbury was fudging his vocal performance. No, not faking it or anything, but he was actually skipping every third word of the lyrics. Didn’t matter what song, I counted them all as soon as I noticed. He would skip every third word because the crowd was singing along and filling in the vocals for him. For some reason, this just really annoyed the crap out of me and it soured me not only on the band but the album as well. I still liked “Fire Woman” but I ended up getting rid of the album over my probably unreasonable attitude about the lack of full vocal performance in a concert.

Yes, it is special kind of dumb reasoning on my part, but that’s how it was for me then. However, like I said earlier, I’ve had a big change of opinion about things now.

The first side of the album is top heavy with all four of the released singles being on it. I mentioned “Fire Woman”, which remains a purely powerful ball of energy that continually punches you in the gut as it blazes a rocking path. The music strikes fast and hard (Billy Duffy’s guitars on this song and the entire album are outstanding) and Astbury’s vocals were and remain a huge hook for the song.

The song “Sun King” was more of a rock radio type of single so it might not be quite as well remembered but I was struck by just how much I enjoyed it this time around. As for “Sweet Soul Sister” and “Edie (Ciao Baby)”, they are just those earworm kind of songs that always key memories back to the first time you heard them.

What did surprise me a bit with Side One was the only non-single track “American Horse”. The song is rocking but I was kind of floored with how much I ended up liking the phrasing of the vocals/lyrics from Ian Astbury. It left me wondering why I didn’t hear that when I first had the album.

Side Two was a slightly different mix of songs for me. I wasn’t all that sold on the opening “Soul Asylum” or “Wake Up Time For Freedom”. Both songs just didn’t quite get over the hump for me. But the good news is, the rest of the songs really worked well. The cassette version of the album contained a bonus track called “Medicine Train” and it was a killer rock track that ended up closing the album out on a high note, but it was the middle of Side Two that did the really heavy lifting. “Automatic Blues” and “Soldier Blue” were both straight up rock songs. Start to finish, each really knew how to find its way into a listener’s blood and get them fired up.

But what really did it for me and is probably the second best song on the entire album (behind “Fire Woman”, of course) was the song “New York City”. There’s just something about this song, a hard driving rocker fueled by storming guitars and a thrilling vocal performance that drove it home for me. It’s a song that probably should’ve been at least considered for being released as a single because there’s just no reason that more people shouldn’t have heard this at the time. Which is a bit ironic coming from me since I completely missed out on all these songs the first time around because I was apparently unable to “hear” what was going on then.

So despite my decades old misgivings about the album, I can honestly say that I’ve had a huge change of heart about Sonic Temple as an album in full. I didn’t like the album tracks that much when it first came out and now I just want to pop the tape back in and play it all over again. If you are reading this article, you should probably think about doing that as well.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The album is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its release this year. The limited edition reissue of Sonic Temple came out in October 2019 and it has 5 CDs that includes a remastered edition of the album, rare tracks, a live album and more.

Iggy Pop sang backing vocals on the song “New York City”.

Sonic Temple was the last album the band recorded with bassist Jamie Stewart. He left the group in 1990. He appeared on stage with the band to celebrate the 25th anniversaries of the Love and Electric albums, but is otherwise retired from the music industry since 1994.