Excessive Excursionist

My life- in 2D.

Tag Archives: Rock and Roll

Monday Music Pick- “ReaLife” by Lollipop Factory

Every Monday (in theory, at least), I’ll post here, a song that grooves me. Hopefully it’ll groove you too. If possible, I’ll provide the entire song, via You Tube. If not possible, a link to hear a snippet of the tune. I’ve always loved introducing people to new material- some of the more obscure stuff. Enjoy.

For my first pick, I’ll take a song that has been stuck in my head- literally, for two weeks straight now. It’s from a Power Pop band, out of Ohio, called Lollipop Factory (you can see my blog about the live show I saw, HERE.

A great blend of influences here- from Queen to Klaatu, with a sprinkling of 10cc (yes, i’m really testing your 70’s music knowledge here).

Great tempo-changes, thought-provoking lyrics, off-the-chart vocals, and overall great production, has made this my “Get-up-and-go-in-the-morning” song. More potent than 3 cups of Espresso, “ReaLife” is sure to please.

I made a “video” for the song, being there was no other way to hear the whole song online. So please, don’t judge the song by the video! I just needed a platform to bring the song to you, and hey, I think it’s a lot better than watching five minutes of an album cover!


Lollipop Factory- The Sweet Taste Of Rock And Roll

Take the tight vocal- harmonizing of Queen, the lyrical intellect of Jellyfish, the frequent and complex tempo changes of Rush, the theatric sound of David Bowie and of course, a circus from an alternate universe. Now, throw them into the proverbial blender- and you’re only tapping the surface of experiencing the wonderfully multi- layered world of Lollipop Factory .

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio- this one time five-piece-band, turned duo, is now touring across America and coming to a town near you (hopefully- for your sake).

Band Founder David Tweed (guitar, vocals) and Bekah Manning (drums, vocals) have been touring non-stop since 2008- trekking from town to town in their RV, equipped with a recording studio (and three cats), and “gets about 9 miles to the gallon”,  according to Tweed-  plus a trailer that houses all of their gig hardware. Rock And Roll.

I “discovered” Lollipop Factory online (on my WebTV!) back in the late- 90’s, on cdnow.com, which was acquired by what you know today as Amazon.com. Being a Power Pop enthusiast, it was immediately music to my ears- both literally and figuratively. The song that made a lightning-fast impact is “Sunday Drive”, to this day the band’s “signature song”.

The song, with layered harmonies that evoke The Beatles and Yes (think “Ive Seen All Good People), a scorching guitar-lead at the crowning moments of the song, and a gripping hook that won’t let go throughout, had me convinced at first-listen. An auditory eargasm, if you will.

Fast forward about 12 years, to this past Saturday in Philadelphia’s The Fire Bar & Nightclub, where Lollipop Factory’s latest stop was- and the site of my first time seeing the band live. I’m a happy man.

Lollipop Factory was one of four bands playing that night, going on second-to-last at approximately 11:30. Because there were so many bands, it allotted each act just a 45-minute set, which in my opinion, wasn’t nearly enough. But Lollipop Factory didn’t waste a minute, getting in a blistering 9-song set:

  1. Sunday Drive
  2. Bouncing Ball
  3. The Worm
  4. Eat Cake
  5. Jump Jet
  6. Objective Man
  7. Rigor Mortis
  8. Silly Grave
  9. Tor My Heart In 2

The Set List- Thank you, Bekah!

The duo hit the stage, both decked out in black. Manning wearing a half-mesh top with black slacks, wearing her ever-present Fedora (no ballerina tutu this night), while the mutton-chopped Tweed had the classic black tee, suspenders and slacks, adorned with his signature top-hat and Cheap Trick-inspired, too-short checkerboard tie, and work boots that appeared to be covered with electrical tape. Rock and Roll.

The amount of energy the duo expends during the set is almost inexplicable- Manning’s impeccable stand-up drumming , all the while belting-out her razor sharp vocal backings, are even more amazing when considering the constant tempo changes. This is not simple 4/4 – time signature music here, people! Meanwhile, Tweed is getting out his inner Pete Townshend (minus the guitar destruction)- jumping around while singing lead, and during the guitar parts, bouncing, jittering in circular fits like a  maniacal tin-soldier on Battery-powered overload. The Energizer Bunny’s got nothing on this guy. Somewhere towards the end of the set, Tweed hops up on the amp stack, then stands atop of it, top-hat skimming the ceiling, as he then puts one foot up on the wall, before hopping back down to the stage, not missing a note. Rock and Roll.

Lollipop Factory are consummate pros- they weren’t exactly playing to a packed house this night, but delivered a show with such high-octane energy, it was as if they were headlining Lincoln Financial Field.

I also had the pleasure of meeting and hanging Bekah and David, before and after their set- having exchanged pleasantries with them via their Facebook page. To say that they are some the kindest, coolest people I have ever encountered, would be an understatement. It was like meeting up with long-lost friends. Over a “few” cocktails (!), David regaled us with stories from the time he played with Jellyfish on some demos, to the time he met Slash from Guns N’ Roses, and everything in-between. A splendid time was had by all, and I can’t wait for the next time they roll back into town.

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Do yourself a favor- check out this band. If you’re a fan of music who’s fed up with the mainstream crap that’s being passed as talent these days; if you appreciate clever lyrics coupled with staunch musicianship; if you generally think that rock and roll is dying- see Lollipop Factory, and they’ll renew your faith.

Start out on their official website, then mosey on over to their MySpace page for some song samples and tour dates. They also sell CD’s and T-shirts at the shows, which is your best bet (Oh yeah- a big “Fuck You” to the person/people who swiped a couple shirts during the show. Assholes.) However you choose to do it- check out this band, and help them in their journey to the next town. Only nine miles to the gallon, remember?

To Bekah and David, thank you so much for such a memorable night- even with the Captain Morgan, it’s still as clear as day. My only request for next time is that you fit in “Planet Earth” somehow- my current favorite tune, one that would make Klaatu very proud. Also a big thanks for the tour of  the Lollipop Lair- bonus! Finally, wishing you good luck in Brooklyn, to find a water-source for your Woolite.

Rock and Roll.

Happy Cheap Trick Day……………. No Foolin’.

April 1st will no longer be known as just April Fools Day, at least in Illinois. Beginning in 2008, The Illinois Senate, in the midst of the battle to get a state budget approved, appointed April 1 of every year to be set as a date to regale the musical contributions of Cheap Trick.

Then: L- R Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Tom Petersson, Bun E. Carlos

Finally, some respect for the Rockford, Illinois band that for some reason, respect always seemed to somehow elude. Currently in their fifth decade(!) as Rock and Roll’s Rodney Dangerfield, Cheap Trick is alive and well, and putting out some of their best music in decades. Robin Zander (vocals, guitar) Rick Nielsen (guitars, vocals) Tom Petersson (bass, vocals) and Bun E. Carlos (percussion- and still the studio drummer, but replaced recently for live shows with Rick’s son, Daxx Nielsen), have proven that some bands can endure the test of time- and then some.

Of course, I’m just a little biased. I write for my own blog, people- not a newspaper. With that being said, I can be just as biased as I want to be. Thank you.

With a handful of platinum and gold releases since their first release in 1977, constant, international touring (over 200 dates a year) and producing two of Rock and Roll’s most indelible anthems, “I Want You To Want Me”, and “Surrender”- Cheap Trick surges on. They released their 17th studio album. “The Latest”, in June of ’09- their best and most polished effort since, in my opinion, the mid- 80’s. Not that the other releases in-between weren’t rockin’, they just weren’t as consistent from beginning to end. It is also my opinion that for just that reason, “The Latest” didn’t receive the airplay or attention it so richly deserves.

Now: L- R Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Tom Petersson, Bun E. Carlos

Along with supporting “The Latest” on the road, the past few years saw Cheap Trick honoring their heroes, and  the most obvious influence in their music- The Beatles, with a Sgt. Pepper tribute show, between their own show dates. The show consisted of “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”, in its entirety, played from start to finish in order- plus a Beatles medley at the end. A performance of the show at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City was captured, producing a CD and DVD. The show received rave reviews.

Most currently, the band is touring and recently completed doing a tribute to one of their own masterpiece’s, 1979’s “Dream Police”. The band played the album, just like the Sgt, Pepper tour-in its entirety, with a lot of other gems from their extensive catalog. Read more about it here.

I will be seeing the band in early May, and have seen them over 100 times, since my first in 1980. A lot of years, and a lot of shows- none of which failed to deliver. If you’ve never seen this band live, do yourself a favor. Even into their 50’s, this band still rocks and renews the faith that Rock and Roll is still kicking.

So, Happy Cheap Trick Day, everyone- it also happens to be April Fools Day. The Rodney Dangerfield’s of Rock and Roll, indeed.

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