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Concerts on your iPad
And other gifts for the music fan

12/13/12
By Michael Witthaus music@hippopress.com



12/20/2012 - When searching for the right gift for the music lover in your life, choices run the spectrum. Have a classic rocker looking to live large? Try the full Who package: tickets to hear the band perform Quadrophenia from start to finish on Feb. 24 at the Verizon Wireless ($72-$625, www.ticketmaster.com), the Criterion Collection release of the 1979 movie, and a copy of Pete Townsend’s biography Who I Am (both available at Newbury Comics). 
 
More down to earth budget-wise, and a better example of why ‘60s music resonates across generations, is a DVD or Blu-Ray of Charlie Is My Darling, which documents the Rolling Stones’ tour of Ireland just as “Satisfaction” was racing up the charts. A young, somewhat innocent Mick Jagger once said he’d rather be dead than singing that song at age 40 – for this film, anyway, time stands still.
 
But why give annuities to aging rock stars when there’s so much great local music available? 2012 was a banner year for the scene studio-wise. Leaving Eden’s latest, Between Heaven and Hell, is great hard rock album. Seven Nights To Rock, the new EP by Portsmouth band The Connection, is pure pop. Sirius/XM’s Underground Garage named “I Think She Digs Me” its Coolest Song In The World a few weeks back. Buy it and a vinyl limited edition of New England’s Newest Hit Makers on theconnection.storenvy.com.  
 
Tristan Omand is waiting for the vinyl pressing of his new Wandering Time album; in the interim, it’s available on iTunes, as are great releases by Gone For Days, Best Not Broken, Craving Lucy and comedian Nick Lavallee. 
 
Every fan loves a gift card from the Apple digital music store, and you can buy them almost anywhere – check the end cap at Hannaford if you doubt this.
 
On the digital front, give a subscription to Concert Window, a network that includes Tupelo Music Hall and Cambridge’s Club Passim. Nine bucks a month buys unlimited access to live music broadcast from 11 venues around the United States, viewable on computer, iPad and iPhone (concertwindow.com).
 
Help a real fan participate in the making of a record. Brooks Young Band is hard at work on an as-yet unnamed album due for release next June.  But a donation of as little as $10 to the group’s Pledge Music Project (pledgemusic.com/projects/bybalbum) guarantees digital access in early April. Give more money for bigger perks like rehearsal time with the band ($50) or a chance to play on a track ($200). Considering Young made his bones playing alongside everyone from B.B. King to Robert Randolph, practice is a must.
 
Gear is a great gift. In addition to As Country As It Gets, the latest CD from the Eric Grant Band, the country rockers sell T-shirts for men and women, and a great limited edition distressed trucker’s hat is available (ericgrantband.com). Leaving Eden borrowed Iron Maiden’s artist for its album cover and offers a two-sided shirt that’s pure metal. 
 
Ballroom Thieves hail from Boston, but New Hampshire Institute of Art graduate Annika Earley designed the beetle adorned shirt available at shows and the band’s website (ballroomthieves.com). Tupelo favorite Liz Longley not only sells T-shirts but will personally write out a set of lyrics for $50, and she also sells a very cool guitar shaped pendent (lizlongley.com). 
 
Concert tickets are always a good present. America’s Got Talent stars and hometown heroes Recycled Percussion play two shows at Manchester’s Palace Theatre (Dec. 30 and 31, $29). Also upcoming at the Palace are 1964: The Tribute (Jan. 20), John Waite (Feb. 1) and Air Supply (palacetheatre.org). Denny Laine, co-founder of Wings with Paul McCartney, leads a band recreating The Beatles’ Abbey Road at Concord’s Capitol Center on Jan. 25. 
 
Or, rather than give the gift of recorded or live music, why not create a musician? Local drummer Jeffrey Samataro will teach the tricks of the sticks with private lessons (jeffsamataromusic.com). A guitar makes a great gift – on the pricey side, John Mann’s Guitar Vault specializes in Paul Reed Smith, the choice of Carlos Santana and others. A new PRS ranges from $700 to $7,000 – it’s a serious instrument for a serious player. 
 
For beginners, more affordable package deals are a good choice, according to Manchester Music Mill sales manager John Poole. 
 
“You can buy a kit from Fender or Gibson. What you get depends on your taste. A used LP with a Marshall combo amp, extra strings and a tuner can run around $250,” he said. 
 
By LP, Poole means Les Paul, the axe of choice for Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and other classic rockers. From small things, big things grow. 





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