Billboard Bits: Reading Festival, 'Reverb,' Mr. Cheeks

Stories on the first U.S. version of the Reading Festival, HBO's 'Reverb,' and Lost Boyz rapper Mr. Cheeks.

EminemOne of the U.K.'s long-standing music traditions will make its way to the U.S. in September, as the first stateside version of Reading Festival is held at the Tweeter Center at the Waterfront in Camden, N.J.

Mean Fiddler, promoters of the festival's U.K. versions -- happening concurrently Aug. 24-26 in Reading and Leeds -- will stage the festival Sept. 8 at the Philadelphia-area venue, and hope to make Reading an annual U.S. event, a spokesperson tells

At deadline, rappers Eminem and Xzibit, and modern rock act Linkin Park are the only artists confirmed to perform, but a full day of music is planned. Music will begin at 1 p.m. on the day of the show on two stages, although the addition of a third stage is possible, according to the spokesperson. Tickets for the event go on sale tomorrow (July 21) via Ticketmaster.

This is not the first U.K.-originated event that Mean Fiddler has brought to the U.S.; the company partnered with New York-based Festival Marketing to present the Guinness Fleadh. That festival, which began as a two-day New York event, grew to a multiple-city tour by its third year, but did not return in last year after the loss of Guinness as the stateside sponsor.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

ColdplayThe fourth season of the live music series "Reverb" will bow Aug. 8 on HBO. The first hour-long episode -- scheduled to air at 8 p.m. -- will feature Coldplay (taped at Philadelphia's Electric Factory), Remy Zero (taped at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles), and Creeper Lagoon (taped at the Trocadero in Philly). (An earlier version of this story incorrectly named the artists appearing on the season's first episode. regrets any confusion this may have caused.)

Other acts lined up for the 16-episode season include Green Day (caught at the Convention Center in Asbury Park, N.J.), the Black Crowes and Oasis (taped at Los Angeles' Greek Theatre), and Guided by Voices (taped at the Trocadero in Philadelphia), as well as the Old 97's, Lucky Boys Confusion, Granddaddy, Pete, Prime, Pennywise, and the Bouncing Souls.

The television show will air each Wednesday night on the premium cable channel, and will be tied in with AOL Music, which will feature interactive elements such as chats, and exclusive music and video content. A separate companion Web site will preview each week's episode, as well as offer audio and video not seen on the show.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Mr. Cheeks, frontman of rap act the Lost Boyz, will release "John P. Kelly," his debut solo album in late September via Universal. The 15-track set -- which includes collaborations with Stephan Marley, Easy Mo Bee, the Goodie Mob's Big Gipp, Horace Brown, and Bink!, among others -- is named for the artist's late grandfather, as well as his cousin who recently lost a battle with cancer. The album will be preceded next month by the Bink!-produced single "Lights, Camera, Action!"

Lost Boyz -- Mr. Cheeks, Pretty Lou, Spigg Nice, and the late Freaky Tah -- debuted in 1995 with the album "Legal Drug Money," which was followed two years later by "Love, Peace and Nappiness." Following the 1999 death of Freaky Tah, the group's third album, "LB IV Life," was released. Cheeks pays homage to Tah on the track "'Til We Meet Again," which was produced by Marley and features his vocals.

Even with Tah's death and Cheeks' burgeoning solo career, the artist says it's not necessarily the end of the Lost Boyz. "Everybody has different agendas, but we are still LB Fam," Cheeks explained in a statement. "We might put out another Lost Boyz album, but it's not going to feel the same way it did when we first started. Everything changed when Tah died."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.


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