On Stage: Howard Jones loves his US fans

Plus: a does of ‘fast-food’ metal you have to see to believe

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

Howard Jones is playing just four dates in the U.S. — including one in the Delaware Valley.

Howard Jones is playing just four dates in the U.S. — including one in the Delaware Valley.

Local fans of Howard Jones can be thankful that the British singer holds them in high regard.

Jones will play his show scheduled for September 1 at the World Café Live at the Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 302- 994-1400,  www.queen.worldcafelive.com) despite conditions that would have led many other acts to cancel the gig.

“This North American tour is just four dates,” said Jones, during a phone interview Wednesday evening from his hotel room in Philadelphia. “I just recently finished a 45-show tour this summer and went back home to England.

“We were going to tour South America this September and we put these shows in the states around that. The South American tour got cancelled but we wanted to still honor these dates.

“The promoter of the South American tour didn’t come up with the visas and the money so we had to cancel the tour. We can’t just leave and head off without the necessary documents. I’m still planning on doing shows there sometime because I’ve never played there.

“Next, we’re touring Australia in from November 2 until the middle of the month. After that, we’re coming back to the states and will be touring here for the rest of November and part of December.”

Jones, a New Wave icon who was one of the forefathers of synth-pop, toured America last summer with three completely different shows.

The singer-guitarist-keyboardist, who was well-known to MTV viewers for his tufts of blond hair as well as his well-crafted songs, performed a special multimedia show called “ENGAGE” in New York.

He also played a string of dates across the country — some with his band and some as solo piano shows. Jones played two shows in the area — the Queen and the Sellersville Theater — in “solo piano” mode.

“I’ll be playing a band show on all four of these North American dates,” said Jones. “It’s a completely electronic band. I’ve been working with Robbie for about 20 years and with Jonathan for 10-12 years.

“I also play keyboards. I have a new rig which is based on Mainstage — the equivalent to Logic software. Rather than carting around hundreds of keyboards, I use software. I’ve gone away from the hardware because it’s too difficult to travel with.”

Jones’ performances of “ENGAGE” last year were ambitious and highly entertaining.  Entirely fan-funded by PledgeMusic, “ENGAGE” incorporated specially-commissioned visuals with music and an interactive live show.

“ENGAGE” is inspired by such diverse musical genres as electronica, contemporary classical and pop and fuses this audio mélange with other visual and literary arts including ballet, modern dance and philosophy. The “ENGAGE” audience is invited to participate via a specially-designed smart phone app, customized clothing and fluorescent make-up.

“With ‘ENGAGE,’ I wanted to do something different instead of just making an album with a lot of songs,” said Jones. “I wanted to write something that would be a live event in a most exciting way. I wanted to have it dramatic with a lot of visuals, including a film of ballet, and a lot of influences — classical, pop and Steve Reich. I took a real mixture of styles I really love and mashed them together.

“The ‘ENGAGE’ shows were great. I did five of them around the world. It was brilliant. I would have liked to have taken it on the road more extensively but the cost of doing that was too much.”

Jones had his first Top Five hit in 1983 with the song “New Song.” Four more hits followed over the course of a year and his album “Human’s Lib” reached the top spot on the U.K. album charts.

Jones’ 1984 “Like to Get to Know You Well” was “dedicated to the original spirit of the Olympic Games” and became a worldwide hit. It also was used in the film “Better Off Dead” and the computer game “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.”

“Dream into Action,” which came out in 1985, quickly became a Top Ten Platinum album in the United States and was Jones’ most successful album. Four major hits were on that album — “Things Can Only Get Better,” “Life In One Day,” “No One Is To Blame,” and “Like To Get To Know You Well.”

Jones has stayed up-to-date with both music technology and musical styles, including EDM (Electronic dance music).

“I’ve done a new version of ‘Everlasting Love” and there is an EDM hit of ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ with (French DJ/producer) Cedric Gervais. All the hits have been updated and we do play a lot of dubstep.

“I’m also working on some songs for a couple of films. One is ‘Eddie the Eagle,’ which is a real-life story of a famous British skier. It is set in the 80s so there is a lot of 80s-style music in the show — new songs in the old style. I’m also writing songs for an American animated film called ‘Animal Crackers.’

“In my live shows now, I’m doing one of the ‘Eddie the Eagle’ songs and two or three from ‘ENGAGE.’ It will feature a cross-section from all my albums and, of course, my hits. I try to play most of the hits. I have about 10-12 ‘must-play’ songs.”

Jones also looks to the past spiritually. He is a devout follower of Nichiren Buddhism.

“A friend of mine who is a fashion designer got me interested in Buddhism,” said Jones. “I loved the way he worked with people and his positivity. So, I got him to teach me.

“I started straight out with Nichiren and I chant ‘Nam Myoho Renge Kyo’ (a mantra that dates back to 1253) every day — in the morning and again in the evening. Nichiren focuses on the belief in the positive power of human beings.”

Video link for Howard Jones — https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hUFw5Qi0pjU.

Jones’ show at the Queen will start at 8 p.m. on September 1 with tickets are priced at $26 and $34.

Other upcoming shows at the Queen are Stephen DiJoseph on September 2, “Accent Rock School Presents Teen Jam” on September 3 and “Mike Peters Presents The Alarm Spirit of ‘86” on September 7.

Mac Sabbath

Mac Sabbath

If you like food from MacDonald’s and music from Black Sabbath, then you’ll probably really like Mac Sabbath.

And, if you like music parodies and intelligently humorous lyrics that poke fun at a fast food icon, then you’ll probably really like Mac Sabbath.

Actually, even if you just like well-played metal music by experienced musicians, then you’ll probably really like Mac Sabbath.

Mac Sabbath, an L.A.-based band like no other, will visit the area on September 2 for a show at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia, http://undergroundarts.org). The kings of “extra cheesy” metal covers, began their summer headline tour — “the “Clown Power Tour” — a few days ago in Las Vegas.

Mac Sabbath — Grimalice, bass; Ronald Osbourne, vocals; The Cat Burglar, drums  ; Slayer MacCheeze, guitar — puts on a theatrical, multimedia stage show with a smoking grill, laser-eyed clowns, bouncing burgers and many more magical surprises.

Despite the obvious references to a multi-national fast food chain, the band has to be very careful not to verbally reference said food chain lest it be devoured by the a horde of “Mac Lawyers.”

Mac Sabbath is an American parody/heavy metal ban that focuses on the music of Black Sabbath and employs lyricism and imagery based on fast food. In Mac Sabbath’s hands, Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man’ becomes “Frying Pan” while Ozzie and the gang’s “Paranoid” becomes “Pair-a-Buns.”

None of the band members speak to the press but the task is ably handled by the group’s manager Mike Odd, former lead singer of Rosemary’s Billygoat and owner of a bizarre shop on Sunset Boulevard in L.A. called The Rosemary’s Billygoat Odditorium.

“I used to run Odditorium in Hollywood and I chased down weird stuff,” said Odd, during a phone interview. “I got an anonymous call to meet this guy at a fast food place in Chatsworth, California.

“This mess of a clown burst through the door wearing a costume of bright yellow and red, and giant shiny shoes. His costume was trailed by long, tattered, hippie fringe that was dirty from scraping the floor and his face was caked in ghostly make up. He said his name was Ronald Osborne, and he that he was familiar with my band Rosemary’s Billygoat.

“He said he had a concept I might appreciate — something he described as ‘drive-thru metal.’ He invited me to come to a secret 3 a.m. meeting to watch him and a cast of characters named Slayer Mac Cheeze, Grimalice, and the Cat Burglar perform.

“They played Black Sabbath songs that had been changed to lyrics about fast food and they screamed about Monsanto and GMOs. He wanted me to manage them. He said it was a secret project and he wanted me to bring it above ground.”

Odd told Ronald that he would manage his band — even if it was a disturbed clown and a band of Monsanto mutants who refuse to reveal their identities because they think they came here from a wormhole in space time direct from 1970.

“We filmed one of our first public shows and then put ‘Frying Pan’ on YouTube,” said Odd. “It got picked up by everybody. Even Black Sabbath pushed it. They got it. And, when they posted the video, it went out to 10 million Black Sabbath fans.

“These Monsanto Mutants are tough. There are a lot of unconventional things about this project. For example, Ronald has told us that we have to go back to the 1970s when music and food was real — back to a pre-Orwellian time. He doesn’t respond to any technology past the 1970s.”

On the Clown Power Tour, Mac Sabbath will be joined by equally mesmerizing one-man, painted Elvis Presley project, Clownvis Presley — an act that was originally discovered on Season 5 of “America’s Got Talent.”

Video link for Mac Sabbath — https://youtu.be/G9pHgJq2wko.

The show at Underground Arts will start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door.

Horse Lords

Horse Lords

The band Horse Lords, which will perform on September 3 at Vox Populi (319 North 11th Street, Philadelphia, 215-238-1236,  http://www.museumfire.com/events), has been described with such terms as “drone rock,” “math rock” and “smarty-arty-weirdos.”

None of them are really accurate or insightful descriptions of the young band from Baltimore.

Most of today’s rock music has its roots in blues, early country-and-western, R&B, rockabilly and maybe 1960s British rock.

Horse Lords’ music roots are in early electronic (not electronica) and avant-garde music. The band also has Krautrock (such as Neu and Can) and the experimental side of ambient (such as Brian Eno) in its DNA.

“At the very first, it was me on drums, Max Eilbacher  on bass and electronics) and Owen Gardner on guitar,” said Sam Haberman, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon as the band drove from Atlanta, Georgia to a show in Asheville, North Carolina.

“At our second show, Andrew Bernstein saw us play and thought that it would be good for him to join. It was a good move. Bernie’s been playing sax and percussion for us ever since.

“It all started when Owen was asked to play at a festival here in Baltimore called Artscape. He agreed — and then forgot about it. A week before the festival, they reminded him he was expected to play. He came up with the name Horse Lords. He called max and said — do you want to be in my rock band. Max said — yeah….and I’ve got a drummer. Now, a couple years have gone by and we have three albums and three mixtapes so far.”

Horse Lords’ third album is “Interventions,” which was released by Northern Spy Records on April 29, 2016.

According to a Northern Spy press release, “West African rhythms collide with just intonation guitars, art-fire saxophone, minimalist grooves, and collaged zapdowns on Interventions, the powerful third full-length from Baltimore’s Horse Lords.

“The band’s Northern Spy debut is also the first Horse Lords album to explore the classic studio-as-weaponry strategies of yore, mapping the quartet’s raw Baltimore lightning onto the experimental musique concrète territory surveyed by elder heads like Faust and This Heat.”

“We all are pretty ecumenical in our approach to music,” said Haberman. “There is a wanderlust to our musical taste. We all come from the Krautrock zone — also form the music that was made by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

“We made a piece last year that was along the lines of Cage-ian chance encounter. It was a 20th anniversary tribute to (Led Zeppelin’s) ‘Swan Song.’ I reconstructed it into a demo and had a friend read the piece. We broke it down, processed it and reconstructed it according to the libretto.

“On another piece, we did field recordings of street noise at the Baltimore protests following the death of Freddie Gray. The final result was a piece that reesembkled Steve Reich’s style of cut-up.”

With musical recipes such as these, you might think that Horse Lords is primarily a studio band — but such is not the case.

“Live music is our primary mode,” said Haberman. “The main pieces we do are honed through live performances. Eventually, we transfer then to a record.

“Our live shows have a very open vibe. The songs are different every time we play them. We get to a point where we have a piece that congeals into a set thing and then we try to record it.”

Video link for Horse Lords — https://youtu.be/yzkhRPkPvSY.

The show at Vox Populi, which is billed as “All the Time in the World Festival,” also features Spires That In the Sunset Rise, Tom Carter/Carter Thornton and Erik Ruin’s Ominous Cloud Ensemble. The show is slated to get underway at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10-15 sliding scale while $20 includes Erik Ruin art poster.

Vox Populi will also present a triple-bill featuring Ava Mendoza, Jessica Pavone and Rosie Langabeer on September 1.



Philadelphia will be the “Concert Capitol of America” on Labor Day Weekend — just as it has been for the last few years. When the summer-ending holiday weekend arrives each year, Philly hosts the Budweiser Made in America Festival.

The Budweiser Made in America Festival is an annual music staged in Philly (and formerly was simultaneously held in Los Angeles. This year, the Philly-only show will be held on September 3 and 4.

The festive holiday music event, which is held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is sponsored by Anheuser–Busch and produced by Live Nation. The festival has a reputation for presenting music from a variety of genres including rock, EDM (electronic dance music), hip hop, R&B, and indie rock.



Created and curated by rapper/rock music mogul Jay Z, Made in America features multiple stages of top-flight live music along with a wide array of food and beverage vendors. Every year, Jay Z carefully selects a lineup of featuring both emerging and establishes acts.

The festival will be headlined by Rihanna on Saturday and Coldplay. The talent-laden lineup also includes Madeon, FKA Twigs, Jamie xx, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Gary Clark, Jr., Bibi Bourelly, Bryson Tiller, Levi Carter, Chance the Rapper, Adventure Club. Grimes,  DJ Khaled, Travi$ Scott, SZA, A$AP Ferg, Tory Lanez, Lil Uzi Vert, and Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz’s collaborative effort ColleGrove.

There also will be a number of “Tidal Rising” artists performing on the Tidal Stage. This venue will feature up-and-coming music acts such as Desiigner, Kodak Black, Dave East, and Lil Yachty.

Video link for Rihanna — https://youtu.be/wfN4PVaOU5Q.

Video link for Coldplay — https://youtu.be/UsrpTrQ1x5Y.

The following is a notice about street closings — Friday, September 2nd – Tuesday Sept 6th; Work hours: 8:00am – 10:00pm • Full closure of site at 10:00am • Full closure to run through Tuesday, September 6th at 5am • Inner and outer roadways of Ben Franklin Parkway from N. 20th Street to Art Museum • N. 21st Street from Pennsylvania Ave to Winter St. • N. 22nd Street from Pennsylvania Ave to Park Towne Pl. • N. 23rd Street from Pennsylvania Ave to Ben Franklin Parkway • Kelly Drive (inbound and outbound from N. 25th Street to Ben Franklin Parkway. For any other questions please call: 646-448-0305

Tickets for the 2016 Budweiser Made in America Festival are $99.50 for either Saturday or Sunday’s concert. Two-day tickets are $162. The event gets underway at noon both days.

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will start the holiday weekend with “First Friday Art Stroll” at Mala Galleria featuring artist Ellen Catanzaro, live music from Mojo Stu, and refreshments from Kennett Brewing Company.

flash -- galleria posterIt was announced that 20 per cent of the proceeds from all original paintings sold in September at Mala Galleria will be donated to The Kennett Flash. Mala Galleria is located at 206 East State Street in Kennett Square, one block from The Flash.

Raymond the Amish Comic

Raymond the Amish Comic

The Kennett Flash will also host Raymond the Amish Comic and Alyssa Truszkowski on September 2, and Band of Brothers, George E. Regester VI and “Rage On – A Tribute to Rage Against The Machine” on September 3.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host Lift Street Live on September 2.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will present Bluegrass Jam on September 1, Jared Templeton on September 2, The POF, Guilt Trip, and Damn, Okay on September 3, and Open Mic Night on September 4.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present Jon Cleary with special guest Michael Bellar on September 2.

Doc Watson’s Public House (150 North Pottstown Pike, Exton, 610-524-2424, docwatsonspublichouse.com) will feature the band Brazen on September 2.

Valley Forge Casino (1160 First Avenue, King Of Prussia, 610-354-8118, vfcasino.com) will present Chico’s Vibe on September 2 and LeCompt on September 3.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) will host Famous October on September 6.

World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, philly.worldcafelive.com) will host Science! On September 2, Soldier On and Pete Groch on September 3 and Valley Queen and Maybird on September 6.

Theatre of the Living Arts (334 South Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1011, http://www.lnphilly.com) will present Good Girl, Brandon Pain , GoGo, Bri Steves and Julian Coleman on September 1, Sylk130 on September 4 and The Heavy on September 6.

Johnny Brenda’s (1201 North Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-739-9684,

www.johnnybrendas.com) has Impressionist, Arrington de Dionyso, and Agent Moosehead on September 1; Strange Parts, Valley Exit (Full Band), Emily Robb (DJ Set) on September 2; Night of 1,000 Kates 2016 on September 3; U+ME+R&B on September 4;  and Khruangbin and Sunwatchers on September 7.

Boot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com) will have on & Heir with Crossed Keys, Second Letter on September 1, and Jason Loewenstein (of Sebadoh), Sam Coomes (of Quasi) and Saqqara Mastabas on September 2.

The Trocadero (10th and Arch streets, Philadelphia, 215-922-6888, www.thetroc.com) will host “The Tnth Presents: HennyPalooza” on September 2.

Fillmore Philadelphia (1100 Canal Street, Philadelphia, 215-309-0150, www.thefillmorephilly.com) will host gallant on September 2 and Haken on September 7.

Tin Angel (20 South Second Street, Philadelphia, 215-928-0770, http://www.tinangel.com) will present Bill Kirchen, Hannah Taylor and The Rekardo Lee Trio on September 1.

Punch Line Philly (33 East Laurel Street, Philadelphia, 215-606-6555, http://www.punchlinephilly.com) will present Ms. Pat from September 1-3.

PhilaMOCA (531 North 12th Street, Philadelphia, 267-519-9651, www.philamoca.org) will host Furnsss, Frontyards, Bread Pilot and Mulch on September 1; King Azaz, Strangerfamiliar, Kilamanzego , Esther and ExbyV  on September 2; and SciFi Explosion on September 6.

Chameleon Club (223 North Water Street, Lancaster, 717-299-9684, http://www.chameleonclub.net) will have a show on September 2 featuring From Indian Lakes, Dawns, Seasonal, Magnolia and Port Ellis.

Rainbow’s Comedy Playhouse (3065 Lincoln Highway East, Paradise, 800-292-4301, http://www.rainbowcomedy.com) is presenting “Is There Life After 50?” now through October 29.

Video link for ‘Is There Life After 50?” — https://youtu.be/NDPqk3FrYgI?list=UUXwt-UjYRy3zJ2S0SozUXPA.

Matinee performances are every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and selected Saturdays with an 11:30 a.m. lunch and a 1 p.m. curtain. Evening performances are every Friday, Saturday and selected Thursdays with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the show following at 8 p.m. There will also be “Twilight Performances” on selected Sundays with dinner at 2:30 p.m. and the show at 4 p.m. Ticket prices range from $30-$55.

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