The Cranberries brought their first full stage show in three years to Chicago's Rosemont Theater on Sunday. The band is touring to support both a new Cranberries Treasure Box — a boxed set reissue of their first four albums — as well as for their fall 2001 release, Wake Up and Smell The Coffee. The band opened the Rosemont show with the title track and single from that last album (their fifth) and closed with their biggest hit, "Dreams." In between, singer Delores O'Riordan went through three costume changes and danced her way all over the stage with infectious energy. The crowd screamed for their manic hits "Zombie," "Salvation," "Ridiculous Thoughts" and "Free To Decide," as well as for their ballads, "Linger," "Joe," "Chocolate Brown" and more. Chicago's OK Go opened the show with a half-hour burst of pure power pop that left the audience anticipating their debut album on Capitol, due in a few weeks.
Foreigner celebrates its 25th anniversary with a Complete Greatest Hits album and a tour that brings them to the Taste of Chicago on July 5. The CD, on Rhino/Atlantic, offers 20 singles from eight Foreigner albums released between 1977-1992, including "Feels Like the First Time," "Cold As Ice," "Hot Blooded," "Double Vision," "Head Games," "Urgent," "Juke Box Hero," and "I Want to Know What Love Is," as well as other fan favorites like "Long, Long Way From Home," "Headknocker," and "Blue Morning, Blue Day." The label has also recently released expanded versions of the albums Foreigner and Foreigner 4.
Last year, Rhino issued a Best of Randy Newman collection; now the label is reissuing expanded versions of Randy Newman classic albums, including 1974's Good Old Boys, which includes the original 12-track album with "Rednecks" and "Birmingham," as well as a second CD titled Johnny Cutler's Birthday, a "rough draft" of the Good Old Boys album seeing release for the first time. The label has also reissued 1972's Sail Away, featuring "You Can Leave Your Hat On" (turned into a hit by Joe Cocker) and Newman's 1981 soundtrack to Ragtime. Both discs feature previously unreleased demo material.
Hollywood Records has issued the soundtrack to the new afro-heavy comedy Undercover Brother. The disc features a number of classic '70s funk songs, starting with a Parliament remake by Snoop Dogg with the help of Parliament's Bootsy Collins on "Undercova Funk." The disc also includes Average White Band's "Pick Up the Pieces," Commodores' "Brick House," Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music (White Boy)," James Brown's "Say It Loud," The O'Jays' "Love Train," Kool and the Gang's "Ladies Night" and more.
It's pretty impressive when a 20-year-old singer-songwriter manages to make a major label debut. But what's really amazing is this is the second time around for Kweller, who formed a band called Radish in his teens and toured the world after releasing their first album when he was 15.
Kweller's new solo project is more fully realized and varied than many artists ever manage. Kweller alternates between piano and guitar, and occasionally sounds vaguely reminiscient of another Ben – Ben Folds – when he sits at the piano and drops quietly humorous lyrics about the young generation.
In "Wasted & Ready," he rocks out with some solid guitar riffing about "the slacker lifestyle," while in "How It Should Be (sha-sha)" he twists words over "Heart and Soul" piano chording like a game, singing: "nothing isn't nothing, nothing's something that's important to me" and "when I was an astronaut I bought a fancy charm/I thought you'd like it but you called it 'cheap'/and at my feet it fell."
Rather than just dropping a dozen derivative, alternative radio-friendly rock songs on his debut in hopes of competing with the likes of Blink 182, Kweller offers a range of styles and colors on Sha Sha.
Catch Ben Kweller live at the Belmont Street Festival in Chicago at 7 p.m. this Saturday. For more information, check the Web site at www.chicagoevents.com.