Concert Series: Cody Simpson Paradise Tour

Cody Simpson’s Paradise Tour made a stop in Phoenix on July 12 at Celebrity Theater. The Paradise tour marks the Australian pop star’s first headlining concert. With two great opening acts and Simpson himself the night was full of pop music, dance moves and of course beach life references.

The show started off with Orlando natives Before You Exit. The band consists of brothers Conner, Riley and Toby McDonough. Their live performances also include guitar player Braiden Wood and drummer Thomas Silvers.

They were full of energy as the jumped around the stage and played four of their songs from their current “I Like That – EP.” For just an acoustic set they had amazing energy and the chemistry between the brothers was awesome.

The band looked completely comfortable on stage and they radiated excitement. I was sad to see them leave the stage. I felt they were a great way to start the show.

Next YouTube star Ryan Beatty took the stage. It’s safe to say that there were a handful of Beatty fans in the crowd judging by the loud welcome and sing-a-longs he received.

Beatty’s performance brought a more soulful approach. His voice is very versatile. He went from a pure pop song to a song with a reggae feel without any hesitation and as an audience member, I did not question the decision. He is simply one of those singers with a unique voice that lets him experiment with different sounds.

His set was more mellow than the act before him but his soulful voice made up for it. Beatty along with Before You Exit are acts that I would keep my eye on. They are rising stars in the making.

Simpson’s show built up a great entrance with fun behind the scene clips showing Simpson getting ready for the show. Right before Simpson took the stage the screens showed footage of peaceful beaches to create the vibe that matches many of Simpson’s songs.

The set list included song of Simpson’s old songs from his two previous EP’s, songs from his debut album “Paradise” and new songs from his upcoming sophomore album “Surfers Paradise” out on July 16.

Simpson gave a great performance and has really grown into his craft. He looks completely comfortable on stage and has mastered both singing and dancing together without missing a beat.

The best part is he hasn’t lost himself. Simpson has created his own trademark in his beach look and sound. That is something that I haven’t seen in an artists in a long time and something that makes Simpson stand out among his fellow artists.

The Paradise tour was entertaining and exceeded my expectations. Crowds were entertained from the very beginning and the energy only grew from there. Cody Simpson has really grown into a very posed and talented artist and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings for him.

If you have a chance to see the Paradise Tour, I highly recommend that you do. It’s a great show with talented young artists. You can find the remaining dates on Simpson’s website.

Below I have made a playlist that will help you get ready for the Paradise tour.

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Song of the Week 6/11/13

Another Tuesday is upon us and this week’s winner was easy to pick as it has been on replay since I heard it last Tuesday. That day I went to The Maine’s album release party at Tempe Marketplace to see A Rocket To The Moon play and was pleasantly surprised when This Century took the stage before them.

The release party was the opener for The Maine’s current tour. I had never heard of This Century before but people in the crowd certainly had. It was the coolest thing being on the outside and watching a band interact with their excited fans. The Phoenix native band clearly enjoyed themselves and the music sounded great. I was throughly impressed by lead singer Joel Kanitz and his performance. Not only did his voice sound amazing but he looked seasoned as he moved all over the stage and interacted with the fans.

There was one excited fan close to where I was standing who knew every word to every song they played and she was really enjoying the show. She was dancing and singing along excitedly and she didn’t go unnoticed to Kanitz either. Multiple times he saw her excitement and acknowledged her, making eye contact while he sang, pointed out to here and smiled as she sang along with him. She wasn’t standing anywhere close to the front row but at that moment is seemed like those two were the only ones in the room and the smile on that girls face after this happen was indescribable.

I had been enjoying the music already but this made me want to root for This Century and when they played “Everywhere Everything” I was completely hooked. I went home and ordered both their CD’s and I am now lucky enough to say that not only am I a fan of This Century, I also got to see them live. So after these events it made sense to honor This Century with this week’s song of the week. So without further ado this is “Everywhere Everything.” For more information on This Century visit their website and if you get a chance to see them live, I highly recommend it.

Song Of The Week 5/4/13

The winner this week is “I Want Crazy” by Hunter Hayes. For more about the song, check out Push Play & Listens write up.

The winner this week coincides with an exciting announcement he made this morning.

Platinum selling country artist Hunter Hayes is partnering up with CMT on tour to bring his fans the Let’s Be Crazy Tour. The tour will support Hayes’ new album “Hunter Hayes Encore” out on June 18th. Tickets for the tour go on sale June 14 and 21. Those fans who preordered Hayes’ new album or download his new app will be eligible to purchase tickets earlier.

The tour will stop in 21 cities and will feature special guest Ashley Monroe of the Pistol Annies. You can find the list of dates below.

Hunter Hayes’ CMT on Tour: Let’s Be Crazy Tour Dates:

10/10 – Knoxville, Tenn. | Knoxville Civic Auditorium
10/11 – Savannah, Ga. | Johnny Mercer Theatre
10/12 –  Columbia, S.C. | South Carolina State Fair
10/17 – Atlanta, Ga. | Fox Theatre
10/18-19 – Nashville, Tenn. | Ryman Auditorium
10/24 – Muncie, Ind.| Emens Auditorium at Ball State University
10/25 – Chicago | Rosemont Theatre
10/26 – Louisville, Ky. | Louisville Palace Theater
11/1 – Birmingham, Ala. |  BJCC Concert Hall
11/2 – Greensboro, N.C. | War Memorial Auditorium
11/8 – Evansville, Ind. | Aiken Theatre at the Centre
11/9 – Cleveland | State Theatre at Playhouse Square
11/10 –Detroit | Fox Theatre
11/14 – St. Louis | Fox Theatre
11/15 – Sioux City, Iowa | Orpheum Theatre
11/16 – Omaha, Neb. | Orpheum Theater
11/20 – Lafayette, La. | Heymann Performing Arts Center
11/22 – Dallas | Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
11/23 – Tulsa, Okla. | Brady Theater
12/4-5 – Minneapolis | Orpheum Theatre
12/6-7 – Kansas City, Mo. | The Midland by AMC

Song of the Week 5/21/13

With another week comes another song of the week and today we honor a milestone in a band’s career. Last week Huey Lewis and the News’s album “Sports” celebrated it’s 30 year anniversary. The special two disc release features the original track list remastered as well as live performances of all of the songs. “Sports” reached number one on the Billboard charts in 1983 and had a hand in the band’s success in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. The band has continued to make music and tour around the United States. All in all they have achieved 19 top ten singles. For all the latest news check out their website and you can download “Sports 30th Anniversary Edition” on iTunes now.

It was difficult to pick which song from this album should be rewarded song of the week, so I went with the practical choice. After all, it’s been 30 years since the release of “Sports” and it’s evident that “The Heart of Rock & Roll” is indeed still beating. So push play and listen as Huey Lewis tells you about Rock & Roll while The News keeps the beat.

Demi Lovato “Demi” Album Review

Yesterday Demi Lovato released her fourth studio album, “Demi,” and Push Play & Listen has decided to review the album for all of its readers. Lovato’s last release, “Unbroken,” introduced a more mature R&B sound. Lovato builds on her maturity in this album that includes meaningful ballads, break up songs, and fun pop songs that will sure to meet her fans approval and may make her some new ones.

Heart Attack

“Heart Attack” is the album’s lead single. It contains a catchy beat and shows off Lovato’s amazing range, while providing a contagious fierce attitude. The lyrics tell the story of an independent girl – one who’s used to playing the boys “like a ken doll” – falling in love.

The bridge of the song proves to be the stand out part of the track, especially the three part harmony that breaks out on the word flames. It’s a great, catchy, upbeat song to lead the album with.

Made In The USA

One of my favorites, “Made In The USA” brings a new sound to Lovato’s voice. The inflections and low register of her voice give the verses a R&B sound.

The track describes a cute relationship with lines like “You always read my mind like a letter/when I’m cold you’re there like a sweater.” To some it may just be another love song, but it’s the simply lyrics that give the song an “aww” factor without being too cliché that makes the song work.

The stand out performance here is Lovato’s voice at the end of each phrase. It sounds great without the illusion that she is trying to hard and it’s something that she hasn’t brought to the table before. It’s a great follow up to the pure diva pop of “Heart Attack”

Without The Love

The song is a mid-tempo ballad driven by the piano. A nice change after two uptempo, high energy hits. Lovato’s delivery is different than the previous two songs, which shows her diversity.

“Without The Love” is a story teller that has Lovato talking about a relationship that continues even though the love has gone.

Neon Lights

“Neon Lights” features writing credits from One Republic’s frontman Ryan Tedder. The verses features Demi’s lower register and offers once again a different delivery. The chorus reminded me of Nicki Minaj’s hit “Starships.” The backing track of the song could easily make this a song that is featured in dance clubs around the nation.

The song does a great job at being a dance track and while Lovato’s voice sounds good, it is certainly not the best song on the album. It sort of loses itself when it follows songs like “Heart Attack” and “Make In The USA.”

There is always one song on just about every album that doesn’t measure up to the rest and “Neon Lights” seems to be that song for “Demi.” It’s not a bad song it’s just not as good as the rest.

Two Pieces

The track opens up with army styles marching drums followed by a beautiful piano melody. Lovato’s voice here reminded me of Christina Perri and it works well. When her voice jumps into falsetto on certain words, it’s beautiful.

The verses’ lyrics give off a more indie feel and the chorus takes the song back to pop. Once again the chorus feature Lovato belong out at the top of her register and, while it’s something that she is good at, I wouldn’t mind seeing a different approach to a chorus.

Nightingale

“Nightingale” represents the first true ballad on the album. Once again we hear a lovely piano melody that perfectly accompanies Lovato’s low register.   The piano is backed by a dynamic string arrangement that backs up the emotion in Lovato’s voice as she expresses her love for someone and asks them to be her nightingale.

The vibrato in her final plea at the end of the song showcases great emotion that really brings the song to life.

In Case

This song was co-written by Emanuel “Eman” Kiriakou, who has written hits such as “Tonight, Tonight” (Hot Chelle Rae), “Crush” (David Archuleta) and “It Girl” (Jason Derulo).

The song possesses a great melody and Lovato’s lower register that we finally see stay throughout the chorus. It is musically a very simple song, making it stand out among the heavily produced songs that precedes it. The natural cracks in Lovato’s voice evokes so much emotion, as she expresses that she will wait for a love that left her, just in case he decided to come back to her.

Really Don’t Care (Featuring Cher Lloyd)

The song was co-written by Carl Falk, Rami Yacoub and Savan Kotecha along with Demi Lovato and Cher Lloyd. The trio, (Falk, Yacoub and Kotecha) have worked a lot British boy band, One Direction’s writing their smash hits “What Makes You Beautiful,” “One Thing,” “Live While We’re Young” and “Kiss You.” Individually the three have worked with big names like Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, Maroon 5 and Nicki Minaj.

Like the One Direction songs mentioned above, “Really Don’t Care” has a great beat and fast moving lyrics. Demi’s attitude makes the song as she tells an ex boyfriend that she doesn’t care about him anymore and that he had his shot but he lost it.

Cher Lloyd’s does a great job with her rap, which showcases Lloyds signature sound as well as add some humor with lines like, “Hey Demi, you picked the wrong lova/you shoulda picked that one he’s cuter than the other.” As always, it’s Lloyd’s conviction and attitude that makes her stand out and I wish that she had more time in the song.

Fire Starter

“Fire Starter” displays a burning confidence in Lovato and is backed by a nice dance track. There’s a lot of conviction in Lovato’s voice as she states “I’m a Jane Bond putting all them guys to shame/I’m a wildcard and I’m gonna steal your game.” The track’s chorus reminds me of Lovato’s song “Unbroken” from her previous album of the same name.

Something That We’re Not

This is another song co-written by Kiriakou with Lovato, Andrew Goldstein and Kotecha. A song that could certainly be (and should be) the next single.

It displays yet another sound in Lovato’s voice as she talks about a boy who thinks they are in love when Lovato isn’t into it. The chorus is catchy and playful and brings out the confidence of Lovato’s voice. I can imagine that this will be a great song to watch Lovato perform live because of the high energy and attitude it brings.

It’s a song that I found myself tapping my foot to and smiling at the lyrics that are meant to give this guy a hint that he needs to back off, a situation that listeners may relate to.

Never Been Hurt

There is a haunting sound to Lovato’s voice in “Never Been Hurt.” The theme of the song is similar as her song “Unbroken.” It expresses that she will love her boyfriend like she’s “never been hurt.” It is a good song but it’s a hard follow after “Something That We’re Not.”

Shouldn’t Come Back

Another song written by trio Falk, Yacoub and Kotecha, as well as Lovato. It’s a ballad driven by guitar.

Lovato uses the simplicity in her voice to give it a sweet ring as she tells a boy that maybe he shouldn’t come back to her. The low register here is great and stays throughout the whole song.

It’s simple ballads like this that remind people just how great and dynamic Lovato’s voice is.

Warrior

Another Kiriakou number. “Warrior” is a strong ballad driven my the piano. It is the best ballad on the record, but is closely followed by “In Case.”

Lovato’s delivery makes this song sound like the most personal song for her on the album. There is so much conviction in her voice that it is hard not to make the connection to the personal battles that Lovato has overcome in the last couple of years.

This is the kind of simply honest song that many fans cling to. In my personal opinion I think it would have been a great album title track because it is so empowering and does a great job at embodying Lovato.

I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me (Target Bonus Track)

This is the most acoustic, raw sounding track on the album. An entirely acoustic song is just what this album needed. I’m a sucker for acoustic so I believe that it could have replaced “Neon Lights.” I encourage everyone who want’s to by Lovato’s record to make sure to get this song because it really rounds out the diversity of the album.

“I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me,” much like the title suggests, is a song about conflicted feelings toward a relationship and much like Lovato’s song “Catch Me,” Lovato will make a decision about what to do by the end of the song. It’s a great vocal performance as well.

Overall, Lovato didn’t disappoint. This album builds where “Unbroken” left off. She continues to mature her sound and make music that truly represents her.

“Demi” is a well rounded album that showcases the many qualities in Lovato’s voice. I believe based on Lovato’s dedicated fanbase and the positive reviews of “Heart Attack” that “Demi” will debut high on the Billboard 200 chart.

Song of the Week 5/14/13

It’s that time again. I had a hard time picking this week’s song, so I decided I would give the honor to a young singer who has overcome a lot over the past couple of years and is releasing her fourth studio album today. Demi Lovato’s current single “Heart Attack” was released at the end of February and has peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her album “Demi” drops today so I thought it would be a perfect fit for Song of the Week. So without further ado, push play and listen as Demi Lovato talks about the boy that is making her do something that she never would, fall in love.

Backstreet Boys Announce New Tour

Last summer the Backstreet Boys announced that Kevin Richardson, who left the band in 2006, had reunited with the band and they were currently working on a new album.

This morning, the news for Backstreet Boys fans, got even sweeter. The band announced this morning on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show that they would be hitting the road in August for their In A World Like This Tour.

The tour will feature special guests Jesse McCartney and former “Jersey Shore” start DJ Pauly D. Members of the Backstreet Boys Fan Club will be eligible for presale tickets that go on sale this Wednesday May 15. Fans who RSVP on this Facebook page will have access to presale tickets on May 16. Tickets will be available to the general public starting on May 17 (some dates won’t be available until May 18th)

The band has already announced a slew of details about the tour. You can find all the dates at the band’s website. You can also find the VIP upgrade packages here. Stay tuned at www.backstreetboys.com  for more details regarding the band and the tour.

It’s been a big year for the band. Last month the band celebrated its 20th anniversary, they received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, their fourth studio album as a quintet will be out later this year and the group is currently filming a documentary that is rumored to be released in 2014.

To get you ready for the tour Push Play & Listen has made a playlist with some of the biggest hits from the Backstreet Boys and Jesse McCartney. So push play, listen, enjoy and then make sure you purchase tickets to the In A World Like This Tour.

Mother’s Day Song

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers around the world. In honor of all that you do for your children, Push Play & Listen has turned to music (of course) to show you the appreciation that you deserve. So without further ado, I’ll let the Backstreet Boys take it away. Push play, listen and have a wonderful Mother’s Day with your family.

Song of the Week 5/7/13

Can you believe it’s Tuesday again. You all know what that means…it’s time to crown a new Song of the Week. This week’s winner is a new group of brothers from Orlando, Florida. Before You Exit is complied of McDonough brothers Connor, Riley and Toby. They have been making music since 2007. You may have seen them in concert, as they have been a supporting acts on numerous tours, such as All Time Low’s Dirty Work Tour in 2011, Allstar Weekend’s All the Way Tour in 2011 and Action Item’s Resolution Tour earlier this year. The band is currently supporting on the North American leg of Olly Murs’ Right Place Right Time Tour. The band will also join Cody Simpson on his Paradise Tour that starts at the end of the month.

Before You Exit’s single “I Like That” is this week’s winner. The song talks about a boy who likes a girl who can’t see her own beauty. The song contains a great beat and guitar riff. The song comes from the band’s EP entitled “I Like That EP” and it is available for download now. The entire EP is filled with wonderfully written songs of all kinds that really show off Riley’s strong lead vocals and the band’s great harmony’s. For all the latest news on the band stay turned to their website.

So sit back, push play and listen as Before You Exit tells you why they “like that.”

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Music News Round Up 4/30/13

Check out the new episode of Music News Round Up, which features music news of all kinds, from new music videos, new singles, upcoming tours to musical television news.

This episode features news about Hunter Hayes, Big Time Rush, Emblem 3, Lee Dewyze, Cody Simpson and more. Push play and listen as I get you caught up on some of music’s biggest news, right here on Push Play & Listen.