Summer at the Shore gets into gear with a host of big-name acts vying to pull in July Fourth weekend crowds in Atlantic City.
It's a motley mix, beginning with a Beatle. Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, which this time out includes Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, and Rick Derringer, plays Caesars Circus Maximus Theater on Saturday. Farther up the Boardwalk, Sean "Diddy" Combs, currently hot thanks to his surprisingly self-mocking hilarious turn as a record exec in Get Him to the Greek, will perform Saturday, just as plain Diddy, at the House of Blues. He'll tease his coming album, Last Train to Paris, and new group, Dirty Money.
And that's just the beginning of the Diddy-ness: On Sunday, the hip-hop impresario will host the Red, White & Blue Celebrity Gala at Harrah's Pool, with Funkmaster Flex among other DJs.
It might pain him to realize this, but the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy won't be the biggest star in A.C. Lady Gaga, currently sporting two submachine guns harnessed to her leather bra on the cover of Rolling Stone, brings her demure stage act and retiring personality to Boardwalk Hall on the Fourth. It's the first of Gaga's three area appearances on the latest leg of her "Monster Ball Tour": She'll be at the Wachovia Center Sept. 14 and 15.
Also on the Fourth, trippy alt-pop rockers the Flaming Lips do the House of Blues, with Fang Island opening. White-suited Wayne Coyne will have plenty of fresh material to draw from as he surfs the crowd in his trademark plastic bubble, between last year's Embryonic and the band's full-length cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.
How to wind down the holiday weekend? Back at Harrah's Pool, Deadmau5, the Canadian DJ-producer born Joel Zimmerman, who wears a mask that makes his ears appear even bigger than Mickey Mouse's, plays a daytime dance party. The house-trance mix kicks in at 1 p.m., with Deadmau5 and a bunch of guest DJs carrying on until 4 a.m., conveniently ending late enough to avoid the traffic crush on the A.C. Expressway.
- Dan DeLuca
Acclaimed in the U.K. by the BBC and Mojo magazine, each of whom named
Here's the Tender Coming
2009's folk album of the year, the Unthanks make a rare appearance Stateside Friday. After two albums as Rachel Unthank & the Winterset, sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank revamped their band and changed their name to simply the Unthanks for
. With close harmonies; stately acoustic instrumentation favoring strings, piano, and harmonium; and a penchant for traditional tunes about doomed maidens and misbegotten children, the Unthanks are steeped in the British folk tradition that stretches back both decades (to singers such as Linda Thompson, Sandy Denny, and Maddy Prior) and centuries (to the Child Ballads and clogging).
But they are not purely revivalists: "Lucky G was full of glee, a bit like Freddie Mercury," they sing in the orchestral "Lucky Gilchrist," proving their frame of reference extends - nearly - to this century.
- Steve Klinge
As far as reunion shows go, this is one of the most welcome. At the very least, it's the most bizarre. Not because Faith No More was so wildly popular after the punk-funk act scored big with 1988's metal-rap anthem "Epic" and the album it came from,
The Real Thing
. Rather, it's because that smash was an anomaly. Little else in the band's catalog sounded as slick as the hit. Not even close - and the band was proud of it. Instead, the ensemble was a mass of disjointed rhythms, dissonant instrumentation, spaghetti western twists, and voices that sounded as if yanked from a Munch painting. Credit Mike Patton. The operatic crooner with one of rock's biggest voices was already in the oddly saxophonic Mr. Bungle when he joined Faith No More. Patton not only continued with the mad Bungle throughout his tenure with Faith, he also joined forces with avant-garde composer John Zorn, recorded potently eccentric solo albums, and brought that zeal to bear on Faith No More albums such as
- one of the most deliriously strange records ever to appear on a major label. For
alone, these guys deserve (and so do audiences that missed them in their prime) a reunion.
- A.D. Amorosi