Live Show Reviews
Michael C. Hall is the latest star to strap on the glitter platform heels and perform the titular role of Hedwig in the Belasco Theatre production of “Hedwig And The Angry Inch” following Andrew Rannells and Neil Patrick Harris.
While Harris’ portrayal was saucy, energetic and fun Hall’s interpretation is far more pained and raw. This Hedwig isn’t enamored with the rocker lifestyle instead she’s desperately trying to have her story told and showcases her talent in raw powerhouse performances of the songs penned by Stephen Trask and originally performed by show creator John Cameron Mitchell. Hall truly lets it all hang out and although his voice is more masculine than his predecessors he truly captures Hedwig’s inner diva.
His limited engagement will run through Jan. 18, opposite Tony winner Lena Hall.
As fans lined up outside the Belasco Theatre after the production to get their playbills signed I managed to get his attention and casually brought up his recently concluded Showtime series “Dexter.” He asked me my thoughts on the finale and if I was “ok with Dexter?” almost as if he was trying to console a person who had just lost a friend. I confessed, “I had issues with the series finale.” He shook his head and admitted, “Many did.” He continued, “Do you want more? Do you need to know what happens next?” glancing up at me from the sea of playbills being shoved in his face.
I took a moment to process the question and said, “There just has to be more to that story. I mean he’s still a killer.” He smiled and said, “So you need a little bit more closure.” He then mused that perhaps a 2 hour episode or special could remedy the controversial finale at the sound of that fans pressed up behind me cheered and chimed in with their thoughts on what Dexter’s fate will be.
Classic salsa tunes from greats like Hector Lavoe and the Fania All Stars among others played as the crowd made its way to Central Park’s Summer Stage performance of John Leguizamo’s “Ghetto Klown.”
The free performance drew long lines; the crowd was so massive many were turned away and told they were, “full to capacity.” The lucky few who made it in danced along to the music as others sat and chatted as they waited for the New York native to take the stage.
It was the perfect summer evening for an outdoor performance; no humidity, very little heat and the occasional cool breeze. Leguizamo burst onto the stage break dancing; pop and locking, spinning and attempting to do a split, he stopped midway admitting he was too old for those dance moves.
The evening was full of music, dancing, colors and laughter as the Central Park crowd joined Leguizamo on his twisted comedic journey that chronicled the highs and lows of his diverse career onstage and on the big screen.
During one of the poignant moments of the show Leguizamo recounts seeking therapy his monologue was briefly interrupted by a heckler who screamed, “Therapy sucks!” Leguizamo without missing a beat retorted, “Just because it didn’t work for you!” The crowd roared with laughter. He continued, “I smell your therapy, I know it’s medicinal, it’s medicinal,” he said referring to the undeniable smell of marijuana that seeped from the crowd.
The abridged performance of his HBO special was well received but left the crowd wanting more. Leguizamo teased, “You want the rest? You gotta see it on HBO.” He bowed and waved farewell to the crowd.
It was the perfect way to kick off the summer concert season, the weather was pleasant and the tides were calm you could see the beach from behind as three of the biggest acts in classic rock took the stage and rocked the crowd. The Soundtrack of Summer Tour co-headlined by STYX and Foreigner with special guest Don Felder reminded attendees of the good ol days and by the end of the night it felt “like the very first time.”
Don Felder took the stage promptly at 7:00pm he performed songs from his time with the Eagles, “Witchy Woman,” “Life in The Fast Lane” and “Hotel California” among many hits. “Here’s a song I wrote from an animated movie in 1981 and if you remember the movie you weren’t high enough,” he said before performing “Taking a Ride (On Heavy Metal).” By the time the double neck guitar was brought out onstage the crowd was on its feet expectantly waiting for the classic hit, “Hotel California” which was performed with Todd Sucherman and Tommy Shaw of STYX.
A beach ball was tossed amongst the crowd as the Jones Beach crowd welcomed STYX to the stage. They kicked off their set with “Grand Illusion” and performed hits like, “Lady,” “Superstars,” and “Come Sail Away.”
“We try to make every place special no matter where we go but there’s no place like Jones Beach,” said Tommy Shaw before going into “Crystal Ball” earning them a rousing round of applause. Perhaps one of the most impressive parts of the evening was watching Tommy Shaw run towards the crowd with his guitar in hand performing every lick of his guitar solo without missing a beat as attendees cheered him on and attempted to high five him.
With the strict 11pm Jones Beach curfew the bands were forced to pack in all their songs in the allotted time giving fans very little rest in between one high power performance after the other. By the time Foreigner took the stage the crowd was pumped and ready to dance the remainder of the night away.
Foreigner closed the evening out with their powerhouse performances of “Feels Like The First Time,” “Cold As Ice,” “Urgent,” and “Jukebox Hero.” The crowd nearly lost their minds when founding Foreigner member and songwriter Mick Jones joined them onstage midway through their performance.
Among crowd pleasers were power ballads, “Waiting for A Girl Like You” and “I Want To Know What Love Is.” The massive combined catalogs of the three acts proved to be a stellar experience to all attendees and a show that shouldn’t be missed.
While other How I Met Your Mother fans were glued to their TV sets watching the highly-anticipated series finale, I sat in the balcony of the Belasco Theatre watching Neil Patrick Harris strut around and gyrate in high heeled boots to Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell’s beloved musical comedy “Hedwig and The Angry Inch.” Long story short Neil Patrick Harris is a revelation; he completely embodies the transgendered “internationally ignored song stylist” from East Berlin.
Those were big shoes to fill considering that John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig is beloved and the film adaptation has a cult following. When I first heard that “Hedwig and The Angry Inch” was going to be revived I was ecstatic to finally get a chance to see it live. I had seen the film numerous times as a theatre major during my years as an undergrad. When I found out that Neil Patrick Harris was going to star as Hedwig I knew that it would be a must see event.
In between musical numbers Hedwig recounts his immigration to the states and his botched sex change operation with humorous anecdotes and updated references that fit in nicely with today’s rapidly changing pop culture, further proving that John Cameron Mitchell is a comedic genius and the character of Hedwig is still relevant and has a place in 2014.
Neil’s portrayal is compelling, funny and raw. It is all that Hedwig fans can hope it’d be and more. If you weren’t aware of Hedwig before there’s no escaping her now, “enemies and adversaries” just try and tear her down.
Hedwig and The Angry Inch stars: Neil Patrick Harris in the titular role and Lena Hall as Yitzhak. The show will officially open on Broadway on April 22.
“It’s good to be home” proclaimed Marc Anthony to the Nassau Coliseum crowd on Sunday evening. The New Yorker brought the house down during his tri-state area stop of his Vivir Mi Vida world tour. He kicked off the tour de force performance with his cross over hit “I Need To Know” and followed it up with fan favorite, “Y Hubo Alguien.”
The crowds outpour almost brought the singer to tears the cheering was so loud he had to take a moment to soak it all in. All he could say was, “wow.”
It was the perfect way to spend the Sunday before Labor Day. The Coliseum was completely sold out; as patrons tried to locate their seats I overheard a security guard state, “those are the box seats for the Islanders, we never sell those” another one piped up and said, “oh, we sold everything tonight,” and escorted the attendees to their seats.
The crowd was on its feet for the majority of the concert; singing, dancing and waving the Puerto Rican flag.
Anthony performed all of his hits, “Hasta Ayer,” “Contra La Corriente,” “Mi Gente,” and closed the evening out with encore performances of “Tu Amor Me Hace Bien,” and his current hit, “Vivir Mi Vida.”
“Es bueno estar en casa,” declaró Marc Anthony en el Nassau Coliseum el domingo. El newyorkino trajo la casa abajo durante la parada en Long Island de su gira mundial, “Vivir Mi Vida.” Comenzó el espectáculo con su éxito, “I Need To Know” y siguió con una de las canciones favorito de los fans, “Y Hubo Alguien.”
El amor del publico casi llevó al cantante a llorar, los aplausos era tan fuerte que tuvo que tomar un momento para absorber todo y lo único que pudo decir fue: “wow.”
Era la manera perfecta de pasar el domingo antes del Día del Trabajo. El Coliseo estaba completamente lleno, mientras patrones trataron de localizar sus asientos oí un miembro de seguridad decir, “esos son los asientos para los Islanders, no vendemos esos.” Otro elevó la voz y dijo: “oh, vendimos todo esta noche,” y escoltado a los asistentes a sus asientos.
Anthony realizó todos sus éxitos, “Hasta Ayer”, “Contra La Corriente”, “Mi Gente”, y cerró la noche con sus éxitos, “Tu Amor Me Hace Bien,” y su éxito actual, “Vivir Mi Vida.”
The house lights dimmed and the stage lights rose, spotlight on singer-songwriter Anna Rose. With a growl in her voice and a heart full of soul she belted out her opening tune, “Behold a Pale Horse.” The intimate crowd sipped their drinks, bopped their heads and swayed to the music.
It was the second night of her residency at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City; the small space consisted of familiar smiling faces. She joked in between songs that she had to get better jokes, “lots of family and friends here they laugh ‘cause they have to.”
The set comprised of songs from her forthcoming album, “Behold a Pale Horse” one which she assured will, “come out, I promise.” Among crowd pleasers was her cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and the guitar heavy “Electric Child” from the aforementioned album.
The venue which traditionally passes around a tip bucket for its performers did so for Ms. Rose who declared, “All the money in the tip bucket is going to Oklahoma, not just the people but the animals too” she said in light of the devastating tornado West South Central state.
She closed the evening with the bluesy ballad “Because You’re Mine” and received a thunderous applause.
The City Winery in Soho was the place to be. On Monday, April 1st rock n roll legends Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols fame and Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls teamed up for an acoustic North American tour. While drinks were poured and food was enjoyed Sylvain performed to a low key jovial crowd. The set was a mixture of covers, solo material and his hits with the New York Dolls as well as a Velvet Underground cover “Femme Fatale.”
In between songs Sylvain chatted up the audience and gave insight into the New York Dolls’ history. Before performing “Pills” he told the story about meeting the late Bo Diddley in the 70s. The Dolls got all dressed up in their platform shoes to see Diddley perform and from the audience chanted “Pills! Pills! Pills!” long enough to get themselves kicked out of the audience.
Glen Matlock took the stage twenty after nine and told the crowd he would do, “something old, something borrowed and something new” before embarking on his acoustic hour long set. Among crowd favorites were his acoustic rendition of “God Save The Queen” and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.”
For an encore Glen welcomed Sylvain on stage and together they performed a ton of classic tunes.
On Wednesday, March 20th Lisa Loeb’s “No Fairy Tale” tour arrived in New York City. Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories headlined the Highline Ballroom in support of her latest album by the same name. The intimate setting was the perfect backdrop for the acclaimed singer songwriter who in between tunes interacted with fans and gave attendees an inside into her new album with stories on how the record came together.
The show consisted of a mixture of her hits, “Stay (I Missed You)” and new songs, “The 90s” and “No Fairy Tale.” She performed requests like “Snow Day,” “Waiting for Wednesday” and crowd pleasers like, “I Do” and the very cutesy tune, “The Disappointing Pancake” from her children’s album, “Camp Lisa.”
After the song “Truthfully” wrapped she mused that the ending of the song reminded her of the Folgers jingle, she and Nine Stories proceeded to sing the jingle to the closing bars of “Truthfully.”
She admitted she still gets nervous before shows, “I know!” she said in response to the crowd’s shocked reaction, “Someone told me to picture everyone naked,” she continued. “But that’s not a good idea, that’s a lot of work. Undressing that many people and then retouching certain places.” She assured us, “don’t worry I won’t picture you naked, that’s gross.” Aside from the music it’s that kind of banter that keeps fans coming back for more.
It was a night full of surprises, duets, and a good time. Marc Anthony returned to the New York stage this time he brought his salsa to the home of the Brooklyn Nets, the Barclays Center. The Saturday, February 16th concert proved that the beloved singer still has the goods. The arena was packed and included stars like Rosario Dawson who danced along to his hits from the front row.
As Marc Anthony made his way onto the arena from backstage the opening bars of his cross-over, English-Language hit, “I Need to Know” began to play. The crowd rose to its feet and deafening cheers filled the room. He performed all of his hits including, “Y Hubo Alguien,” “Hasta Ayer” and “Por Que Le Mientes” his recent duet with Tito El Bambino who made a surprise appearance. But the surprises wouldn’t end there, soon after Marc Anthony would be joined by Bachata King, Romeo Santos who joined him for a rendition of Anthony’s hit “Nadie Como Ella.” Romeo teased the crowd with his dance moves and briefly gyrated like a male stripper driving female audience members mad. Anthony without missing a beat turned his back towards the audience and began shaking his money maker as well.
Just when the show seemed like it couldn’t get any better Marc Anthony welcomed Pitbull on stage for their hit, “Rain Over Me.” The Cuban hit-maker enthralled with his suave vocals and overall charisma.
Marc Anthony closed the stellar evening out with fan favorite “Tu Amor Me Hace Bien.”
Fue una noche llena de sorpresas, duetos y un buen rato. Marc Anthony volvió al escenario de Nueva York esta vez llevó su salsa a Brooklyn, al Barclays Center. El concierto del sábado, 16 de Febrero demostró que el querido cantante todavía puede comandar un público. La arena estaba llena y estrellas como la actriz Rosario Dawson bailo desde la primera fila.
Marc Anthony hizo su camino a la arena mientras su éxito en Ingles, “I Need To Know” comenzó a tocar. La audiencia se levantó a sus pies y fuerte gritos lleno el escenario. El cantante realizó todos sus éxitos como, “Y Hubo Alguien,” “Hasta Ayer” y “Por Que Le Mientes” su reciente dueto con Tito El Bambino, quien sorprendió el público cuando subió a la tarima.
Pero las sorpresas no acabaron ahí, después Marc Anthony se unió con el rey de la Bachata, Romeo Santos, quien lo acompaño para una interpretación de “Nadie Como Ella.” Romeo volvió las mujeres locas con sus movimientos de baile. Marc Anthony no se quedó atrás y comenzó a menearse también.
Justo cuando el espectáculo parecía que no podía ponerse mejor Marc Anthony invito a Pitbull al escenario para interpretar el éxito, “Rain Over Me.” Pitbull, el cantante Cubano, encanto con su voz y carisma.
Marc Anthony cerró la noche con broches de oro con su éxito, “Tu Amor Me Hace Bien.”
The ladies of Heart unveiled their new album “Fanatic” to an intimate crowd during Tuesday night’s iHeart Radio concert in New York City. “We’ve been in hotels talking for hours it’s so good to be able to finally play,” Nancy Wilson said. To which her sister Ann Wilson playfully added, “so quit talking and let’s play.”
It’s been a good year for the rock duo who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 25th just days before the October 2nd release of “Fanatic” and nearly 35 years after bursting into the scene. Their memoir “Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock and Roll” arrived in bookstores on September 18th. In it the ladies reveal “a first-hand chronicle of tumultuous inter-band relationships, thirty years of roller-coaster fame and continual reinvention, and, of course, the kind of excess that can comes from the surreal, and hyper-real demands of life on the road, Kicking and Dreaming is an intimate, honest, and a uniquely female take on rock and roll life.”
The concert mainly consisted of cuts from their 14th studio album, like proud parents the Wilson sisters were eager to show them off and the audience ate it up. They opened with the album’s lead off track, “Fanatic” and followed it with fan favorite “Even It Up.” But of course no Heart show is complete without their smash hit, “Barracuda” which they saved for last.
Friday evening Swedish Indie rockers The Sounds got the crowd dancing it up at Webster Hall during their first national tour in two years. The sold out show got an early start with opening acts The Limousines, Kids At The Bar (DJed between sets) and Natalia Kills.
The Sounds took the stage around 9:00pm and had the crowd bouncing as they performed “Dance With The Devil” off their latest album “Something To Die For.” They performed “Better Off Dead” and other enticing cuts from past releases.
There’s something electric and infectious about this band from the moment they take the stage to the time they play their first note the crowd is hanging on to every word and note; pushing up against the stage and dancing to each beat. Something guitarist and songwriter Felix Rodriguez attributes to, “everything going like [they] wanted it to so [they’re] having a lot of fun” and it shows.
When we sat down with Felix prior to the performance he revealed, “American crowds are more open-minded.” Stating, “Here there’s a lot of people that may not know a band but have heard of the band and want to check it out… you want to go out and discover a band by yourself. In Sweden…you go to a show if you really know about a band and if you feel like it. [In America] there’s a way better live culture.”
Listen to our one-on-one conversation with the guitarist on the Sinister Girlz Podcast available December 14th.
Stepping out of their comfort zone the electric-dance powerhouse known as Tayisha Busay journeyed from Brooklyn to the Lower East Side in celebration of their debut album, “Focus/Virus.” The release coincided with their CMJ showcase at The Living Theater. The proud winners of NYC Rising, a music scholarship program sponsored by The Musebox, SESAC, Brooklyn Industries and ReverbNation awarded the trio with three showcases (two during CMJ) as well as booking and music distribution with marketing and promotion. They beat out over 800 acts and at Friday’s show proved they were worthy of the honor.
While a few familiar faces appeared to be in the crowd, the majority of the audience was being exposed to the spandex clad, synchronized dancing trio for the very first time. Within seconds of performing their new tunes the crowd began to gyrate and move along to the beat. They performed fan favorite “WTF You Doin’ In My Mouth” along with newer tracks “Bashy Face,” “Focus,” and “Covered Wagon.”
Their current single, “Nothing’s Happening” closed their set and received a rousing round of applause. One young man behind me left the dance floor saying, “Those fucking guys are good!” as he wiped sweat from his forehead with the sleeve of his shirt.
The Big Picture Media CMJ showcase got underway at Sullivan Hall with an electrifying performance by Grygiel, a singer-songwriter from Upstate New York. Backed by a female band the performance further proved that women can rock. They really got the crowd going with their song, “Space Party.”
Exactly at 8:05 Mercies took the stage, within seconds of embarking on their set list a crowd gathered before them. Heads began to bop as people grooved to the sweet sounds of this Connecticut trio.
Destry followed with a melodic performance where vocalist Michelle DaRosa and Tyler Odom traded singing duties. DaRosa performed lead on some tracks and Odom on others and provided back up for one another when not singing lead.
The Boston indie-rock quintet The Hush Now took the stage promptly at 9:35 and performed cuts from their latest album; “Memos” with songs easy to dance to The Hush Now had no problems getting the crowd going.
The Big Picture Media showcase featured some of the most promising up and coming indie bands music has to offer. Whether you’re into soft rock, melodic pop or a folksy or blues feel the bands at Friday’s showcase had something for everybody.
After a late start following technical difficulties the Euphoria Tour featuring bachata up-and-comer Prince Royce, chart-toppers Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias finally got underway 2 hours behind schedule and by 9:50pm Prince Royce got the crowd dancing with cuts from his debut album including, “Stand By Me,” and “Corazon Sin Cara”
The elongated stage offered fans sitting in the center and back of the arena an up close and personal view of their favorite star as each made use of the runway serenading fans and blowing kisses as the crowd squealed in euphoria. The predominantly female crowd ranged from 10-year-olds to middle age.
Pitbull took the stage soon after with a high-energy performance utilizing the entire stage jumping, dancing, thrilling the crowd. He performed all of his hits including, “Bon, Bon,” “Hey Baby (Drop It on the Floor),” “I Know You Want Me,” and current single, “Rain Over Me.” He thanked the crowd profusely for their patience that evening stating, “We wouldn’t be here without you.” He closed his set with showstopper, “Give Me Everything.”
Once Enrique Iglesias took his mark the crowd rushed the stage as they attempted to touch the Latino heartthrob prompting security to push back the crowd. Later Enrique went on to say, “security let them do whatever they want tonight, you’re being too strict.”
He performed all of his hits including “lloro Por Ti,” “No Me Digas Que No” and 1999 hit “Bailamos.” “Is it true that what happens in Atlantic City stays in Atlantic City?” asked Enrique. The crowd cheered him on and so he said “cause tonight I’m fucking you” during opening number “Tonight (I’m Loving You).” Later on with Usher and Lil Wayne projected on the screen behind him he performed his current single “Dirty Dancer.”
It was an evening full of cheers, squeals and tears. A night where attendees turned back the hands of time and transported themselves back to the 1980s and then fast forwarded to the 1990s as they came face to face with their adolescent crushes and in some cases their first loves, yes I’m talking about the New Kids On The Block/Backstreet Boys tour.
The evening began with an electrifying performance by Matthew Morrison of Glee fame, an incredible singer and dancer in his own right, got the crowd going with cuts from his self-titled solo effort in addition to mash-ups and covers featured on Glee, ”Don’t Stand So Close To Me / Young Girl,” “Gold Digger” and “Sway.” He ended his set with “Don’t Stop Dancing” (from his album) who he dedicated to the “triple threats” who inspired him to sing, dance and act, Gene Kelly, Patrick Swayze and Michael Jackson by incorporating iconic dance moves from each including Swayze’s Dirty Dancing moves and Michael Jackson’s moonwalk.
After a brief intermission the lights were turned down and a white sheet hung over the stage images of each member of the New Kids on The Block and Backstreet Boys were projected on the makeshift screen and with a giant swoop the sheet came down unveiling all 9 members of the super group. Set to Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” they performed a medley of their hits, NKOTB’s 2008 “Single” and BSB’s 2001’s “The One.”
It was a tag team performance full of explosives, gyrating, falsettos, and the occasional a cappella. After one group got done singing and dancing their chart toppers the lights would turn down and then turned back up revealing the other group as they took the reins. It was a nonstop adrenaline pumping show.
“I know there are two generations in this room” stated NKOTB’s Joey McIntyre to a screeching crowd in between songs, “for us it feels like 1989 and i know for a lot of you it feels like 1999,” he said. “No matter what magical time travel journey you’re on there’s no reason why it needs to stop,” he concluded to deafening cheers.
Prior to the performance, my expectations weren’t very high not because of anything either group had done, but because I thought, I was too old to care anymore. The truth is I had hung up my Backstreet Boys tees a long time ago, and although I had an appreciation for the New Kids, I was too young to enjoy them in their heyday, but the Backstreet Boys were my boy band. Although I swore at the age of 14 that I’d love them forever by age 16, I had moved on and buried my BSB merchandise and paraphernalia along with my childhood in boxes in the attic of my parents’ house. It wasn’t until the images of the guys flashed on a white sheet center stage that my cynicism melted away and my eyes filled with tears. They weren’t the nonsensical, exuberant tears of my youth but instead tears of gratitude and relief that for that brief moment I remembered what it was like to be that happy and worry free. I cried out of excitement but also out of sadness because no matter how hard I tried I could never recapture that innocence and sheer joy that I felt when I popped in a new BSB CD and for the next three hours, I forgot my age and celebrated how happy they made me.
Girl in A Coma brought the house down during their opening set for Joan Jett at the Seaside Summer Concert Series in Brooklyn. It was Thursday, July 14th and the San Antonio rock trio unveiled new tunes from their forthcoming album including a hard rocking song titled, “Control.”
They played new material as well as fan favorites including, “Ven Cerca” and Patsy Cline cover, “Walkin’ After Midnight” which Nina beautifully hummed the opening bars to before diving into the song. “The next song goes out to our fans,” declared Nina Diaz the band’s front woman and guitarist as they got ready to play the up-tempo anthem, “Static Mind.” The song was greeted by enthusiastic squeals from a group of ladies in the front row.
Judging from the crowd’s reaction and songs performed that evening Girl in A Coma’s next album is sure to feature more mesmerizing vocals married with powerful guitar riffs and more up-tempo goodness.
Girl in A Coma is: Nina Diaz (vocals/guitar) Jenn Alva (bass) and Phanie Diaz (drums)
“Good evening Pianos!” yelled vocalist Sam McCarthy of the electro-pop duo Kids of 88. “Lose all inhabitations tonight,” he said before going into their first song of the evening “Downtown.” It was a cold New York night but inside it was hot and sweaty. As soon as Kids of 88 got on stage they were greeted by dozens of flashbulbs. Those who weren’t busy snapping pictures swayed and gyrated to the sweet electro-beats.
The New Zealand band is fresh from their SXSW appearance and riding high with their well-received U.S. debut EP, “Just a Little Bit.”
The set flew by. The band along with the crowd was drenched in sweat. By the time the band made it to their last song “My House” McCarthy proclaimed, “Unfortunately I’ve lost my voice” he said with a rasp. “Either that or I’m going through puberty; hopefully, it’s the first one.” Despite the minor setback the band turned it out and brought the house down with a bouncing crowd with their arms waving in ecstasy.
Kids of 88 is Jordan Arts and Sam McCarthy.
On the closing night of the 3-day stint at Radio City Music Hall Janet, “Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty,” gave the fans what they wanted, a non-stop dance infused trip down memory lane, with a performance that highlighted the very best of her thirty-plus career.
Her “Number Ones, Up Close and Personal Tour” featured performances of her number one hits including “Control,” “What Have You Done For Me Lately,” “Again,” “Rhythm Nation” and most recently “Feedback” from her 2008 release “Discipline.” The show opened with two music videos displayed on the big screen “The Best Things in Life Are Free” followed by “Rhythm Nation” which prompted a sing-along and propelled audience members to jump to their feet and imitate the iconic dance moves from their seats and some even made their way to the aisles.
Once onstage Janet had the crowd eating out of the palm of her hands, they cheered at all of the right places and whenever the singer busted out some of her signature dance moves the crowd would chant, “Go Janet, Go Janet, Go Janet.”
The big screen would become an integral part of the performance utilized to highlight numerous aspects of the singer’s career including her acting chops with clips from some of her most memorable roles as Penny in “Good Times”, Charlene in “Diff’rent Strokes”, Justice in the film “Poetic Justice” and Patricia in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married?” In between set changes her band and backup singers performed medleys of other chart toppers and fan favorites.
Her brother Michael was referenced in two instances once when she performed their duet “Scream” alongside the music video and during her closing number “Together Again” where she got teary-eyed as she sang, “There are times when I look above and beyond. There are times when I feel you smile upon me baby. I’ll never forget my baby” she took a moment to look up to the sky and mouth ‘I love you’ before concluding the song as childhood photographs of the two were projected on the screen.
The show clocked in less than two hours and was exhilarating from start to finish. Like wine Janet Jackson only gets better with age.
Kicking off the 2011 concert season was the two-day circus inspired event held in Lincoln Center below the Big Apple Circus tent. The show is part rock concert part circus featuring acrobatics and entertaining bits and commentary by ornately dressed drag queens in between the musical acts.
The first night was opened to the general public with free admission and featured performances by The So So Glos, Voxhaul Broadcast and the now infamous performance by Japanther that caused a near riot when fans rushed the stage.
The following night kicked things off with a walk down the red carpet by the evening’s headliners and some famous faces. Performers Saint Motel, Amazing Baby and headliner Ariel Pink all rocked the carpet as well as Chevonne, Matt Lowell and NGHBRS.
The performances were full of energy and fun surprises including a group of unidentified dancers who took to the stage in the middle of Amazing Baby’s set and rocked out and hyped the crowd as they jumped, danced and twirled behind and sometimes in front of the band. Without a doubt it was a one of a kind event not to be missed.
Comedian Sinbad said it best at Saturday night’s Prince performance, “you ain’t seen anything like this and you probably never will again.” It was a show so phenomenal and entertaining that I will be unable to do it justice in this post.
The singer, who had comedian Sinbad and funkmaster Larry Graham as opening acts, pleased the Madison Square Garden crowd by performing hit after hit. He opened his 2 hour-plus show with “Baby I’m A Star” off his Purple Rain album and followed it with “Beautiful Ones” another Purple Rain gem. He kept cranking them out and showed off his electric dance moves and jaw dropping guitar skills as he performed “Delirious,” “Raspberry Beret” and “1999” among others which prompted him to at one point mutter, “Too many hits.”
His Welcome 2 America tour has played selective dates stopping at NJ’s IZOD Center and the Garden in New York City. Prince’s command of the stage is unlike any other. He held the crowd at the palm of his hand and had them clinging to every one of his notes. He danced and pranced around the stage like a kid at a candy store full of energy and life. Through it all you could tell he was enjoying driving the ladies wild with his gyrating hips.
His 8-minute long rendition of “Purple Rain” brought grown men to tears and prompted a sing along. During his encore he invited the celebrities in attendance to dance with him onstage which included, The View’s Sherri Sheppard and Whoppi Goldberg. Everyone from Spike Lee to Alicia Keys were dancing it up onstage as Shelia E. tackled the drums for the second time that evening.
Webster Hall was transformed into a Lucha Libre arena for Tuesday night’s return of Lucha VaVOOM the wrestling-burlesque show. The evening was full of comedic and colorful commentary provided by Blaine Capatch and guest commentator former SNL cast member Horatio Sanz.
The Mexican Wrestling, Burlesque, and Comedy tour de force started things off with some VaVoom, a feathery striptease by Ursalina and then proceeded to show masked heroes and villains kicking and flying into the air as they fought to win the evening’s match.
It was a show unlike any, I’ve experienced. The theatricality, the colors, the acrobatics was so thrilling that I found myself wanting to jump onstage and take on a masked villain myself.
The onetime event that dates back to 2003 has rapidly grown into a touring phenomenon, it’s the place to be, the kind of event you can’t believe you’re attending but once you experience it you can’t wait to tell all your friends about it.
The audience hung on to every word, cheered on each hero and booed all of the villains. You can sense the tension in the air as Dirty Sanchez reached into his pants and rubbed his t-shirt on his bare ass or as Little Chicken (in a separate match) appeared to be in trouble and moments from being eliminated. Chants of “Little Chicken!” or “Poyito!” could be heard as the pint-sized hero attempted to regain his footing.
The night was full of laughs, hula-hooping, stripteases and masked wrestling worth watching over and over again. It’s a non-stop, action-packed, rollercoaster of fun.
“This is so kick ass, we’re doing this again next year!” stated an audience member to his friends.
For more on Lucha VaVoom and when they’ll be visiting a city near you visit their official website www.luchavavoom.com and to see clips/highlights from previous performances visit their youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/toniscarpa
What’s better than seeing one of your favorite pop artists live? Seeing them for free, this is what I did last night. At the last minute, AT&T announced that Katy Perry was performing that night at the Roseland Ballroom as part of the launch party for the new Windows Phone, and I happened to have won tickets via the Some Kind of Awesome blog.
First: let me put the biggest question to rest. She is good live. I repeat: she is good live! I have seen her twice now and it sounds absolutely nothing like her performance on last night’s EMA awards (or any other television performance where she sounded terrible.) I have no idea how her performing live on television doesn’t translate the same as live in person, but it just doesn’t. Not only was her voice great, she was incredibly charismatic and fun to watch. She interacted with the audience and was really entertaining.
The lollipops and assorted candy props on stage, coupled with the cotton candy-dressed dancers set the mood for the evening. She opened with “Hot n’ Cold,” which got the audience going. From there, she went into a jazzed down version of “I Kissed a Girl” and sang a few new songs, as well. In the middle of the performance, she grabbed an acoustic guitar and introduced “UR So Gay” by saying how her most powerful weapon is writing: “You wanna break my heart? You wanna step on a kitten? I’ll fuck you up in a song!”
After adorning a neon-lit peacock tail before performing “Peacock” and announcing that she “isn’t afraid” to perform “California Girls” in NYC anymore because she’s paying taxes here, the crowd went wild.
All in all, it was a fantastic show and those who hate on her vocals need to experience them up close.
The Beacon Theater roared with laughter as Margaret Cho recounted her experience on this season’s Dancing with The Stars during her New York stop of her Cho Dependent Tour. She revealed she possessed the cast’s largest camel toe and felt she was disliked by the judges. Although her stint was brief she revealed that the experience was a positive one and credited her slim figure to her dancing stretch.
Her show was part stand up part music concert; the comedian incorporated songs from her album “Cho Dependent” and Ben Lee joined her on stage on a couple of numbers, including her current single, “Lice.” The show was full of surprises and included an appearance by the Empire City Men’s Chorus; they performed the closing chorus of “Your Dick.”
As always, she was smart, witty, and charming. She’s a true chameleon and because of that I will gladly follow her on her future endeavors.
Set against a sky blue background and crinkled hanging clouds Tayisha Busay gyrated, dry humped and covered the crowd in glitter and silly string during their Friday, August 20th performance at Glasslands.
The glitter-dance trio unveiled a handful of new tunes and retro-inspired dance moves. Brooklyn is no stranger to Tayisha Busay they have toured all over the borough and have cultivated a growing following. Just when you think you’ve seen it all they unveil new tricks and this time it included glowing glasses and spraying the crowd with silly string.
Armed with ‘Yo Mama’ jokes and witty repartee Ariel Sims, Brandon LaLaVek and Tessa G. delighted the crowd. They performed their viral hit “WTF You Doin In My Mouth,” “Soul Power” and “Circles” among other crowd pleasers. By the end of their set the audience wanted more and chanted “Encore! Encore! Encore!” much to the delight of the three pop stars in the making.
To truly appreciate the Tayisha Busay movement one must see them perform live. Their energy is truly unique and inspiring; they’re the type of act that draws stares and puzzled looks at least at first. Their racy dance moves and lyrical content may raise the occasional eyebrow but by the end you’ll realize it’s all in good fun and will be dying to join their glitterati.
No summer is complete without an outdoor concert by the B-52s. Last year the B-52s beach party at Governor’s Island was cut short due to a sudden summer storm but this time there was no stopping them from putting on a spectacular show at the Seaside Summer Concert Series stage in Coney Island.
The Asher Levy Park hosted a diverse crowd equipped with blankets, beach towels and lawn chairs. Attendees camped out for hours, baking in the August sun for the second to last concert of the series.
Belinda Carlisle of Go-Gos fame kicked off the festivities performing hits from her solo career such as, “Mad About You,” “I Get Weak” and “Heaven is a Place on Earth” along with Go-Gos anthems “We Got The Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “Vacation.”
But the party really began when the Athens, Georgia foursome burst onto the stage performing their 1987 hit “Wig” and proceeded with “Private Idaho” and other crowd pleasers such as “Mesopotamia” and “Party Out of Bounds.” By the time Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson got to “Roam” the crowd was at its feet singing along to every word but by the far the songs that got the wildest cheers were “Love Shack” and their closing number “Rock Lobster.”
Check out our friends from Paperdoll performing on Fox’s “Good Day” morning show last Friday.
MYFOXNY.COM – New York City cranks out some big-time artists (Lady Gaga among the most recent.) Get ready for the indie rock band Paperdoll. The group hails from the lower East Side and they’re about to take China on for size. Teresa, Patrick, Chip and Steve take the mic on Friday’s show with a preview of their upcoming tour.
If you attend a Semi Precious Weapons party chances are you’ll leave sticky and covered in champagne. It was a blistering hot summer night in New York City and fans bravely got dressed in their best rock n roll inspired apparel, pumps and full-face makeup during the city’s record breaking heat wave.
Lady Starlight DJ’ed the event, spinning classic rock tunes well into the hours of the early morning, playing everything from the Stones’ “Brown Sugar,” to Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls.” The party was in celebration of Semi Precious Weapons’ major label full-length debut album, “You Love You.” The album was released last Tuesday (on June 28th) and already the crowd was shouting out requests. Cries of “Statues!” (regarding the track “Statues of Ourselves”) could be heard among the drunken crowd.
It was well after 1:00 a.m. and the 21-years-old and over crowd was treated to an open bar following the 11:30 admittance. The time they didn’t spend drinking was spent dancing and posing with their very own Justin masks, which were handed out prior to the performance.
Semi Precious Weapons kicked things off with, “Her Hair Is On Fire” and kept the party going with “Put A Diamond In It.” By the time their anthem “Semi Precious Weapons” was played the audience had completely lost their minds; screaming, dancing and singing along to the chorus, proudly proclaiming, “I can’t pay my rent, but I’m fucking gorgeous!”
Front man Justin Tranter apologized to the crowd in between numbers, “if any of the bouncers were mean to you or yelled at you, I’m sorry. One of the bouncers punched me in the face just wanted to let you know it’s going to be OK,” before embarking on another song which he mentioned was inspired by many of the people in attendance. Those songs had been inspired by many of the familiar faces in the crowd including fans from the early days and also friends of theirs.
The best part about any SPW performance is the energy the guys bring to the stage. While playing the guitar Stevy Pyne is dancing it up spinning in the air as Cole Whittle on bass is throwing kicks and doing back flips or jumping into the crowd. All the while Dan Crean murders the drums as Justin Tranter belts out some vocals while displaying high kicks and splits. Rock n Roll never looked so beautiful.
“We were at Hogwarts earlier and borrowed their invisibility capes,” stated Ariel Sims in regards to their draped look for the evening. As the band set the stage at Thursday’s CrushFEST appearance held in Brooklyn at Public Assembly the crowd trickled into the back room performance space.
They unveiled a new number and with it the cloaks began to come off. By the end of the song their glittery short shorts and bedazzled fanny packs were in full view along with their gyrating hips. They performed their ‘lullaby’ as Tessa G. called it; their viral hit “WTF You Doin’ In My Mouth” to a giggling and enthusiastic crowd. What followed can only be described as glitter-tossing, fist pumping, pelvis thrusting mayhem.
The audience quadrupled in size and after each number the closer the crowd moved to the stage. Among crowd favorites that evening were “Soul Power,” “Circles,” and the always crowd pleasing final number “Tonite” which rallied a dancing mass onstage.
To say that, ‘there ain’t no party like a Tayisha Busay party’ is an understatement. Upon entering a Tayisha Busay event one must check their pants at the door along with your inhabitation. Their numbers are catchy and hot and can win over the world’s biggest cynic. By the end of their half hour set you’ll leave the dance floor sweaty, feeling euphoric, slightly aroused and covered in glitter.
NYC Pride got underway Wednesday night at the Blender Theatre at Gramercy. It was a kick off party for Gay Pride hosted by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly. The party starred RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Pandora Boxx. Before the show got underway guests and members of the press were invited to view the pilot episode of Logo’s newest show, a spin off of RuPaul’s Drag Race titled, “Drag U,” a reality competition where Drag Race contestants from Season 1 and 2 take ordinary women and transform them into draglicious divas.
Many fixtures of the gay community were in attendance. Guests included Lady Bunny, The Kiki Twins, Project Runway season 6 contestant Nicolas Putvinski, actor Nathan Lee Graham of Zoolander fame and many more. As the stars made their way into the lounge area, posed for pictures and mingled with other celebs, beautiful drag queens served Hors d’oeuvres consisting of White Castle burgers, spicy crab cakes and vegetarian sushi. As other divas passed some wine. The event was a charity silent auction, drag queen superstars including Pandora Boxx donated shoes benefitting the cause.
80’s pop singer of “Johnny Are You Queer?” fame debuted her new single “Pussycat Babylon” before performing a remixed edition of “Johnny Are you Queer.” The crowd cheered and shouted “You were robbed!” the moment Pandora Boxx took center stage. She joked about being booted off the reality competition and how she’s better off considering it’s her name on the marquee and not Tyra’s (season 2 Drag Race winner). The crowd cheered and hung on to her every word. She lip sank two songs and wished attendees a happy pride.
There’s a saying that goes, “the freaks come out at night” and on March 22nd the members of the Coney Island Sideshow gave new meaning to the phrase. The Coney Island sideshow performers paraded themselves onstage contorting, juggling and sword swallowing at the Highline Ballroom stage that night.
The Great Fredini, who’s known as the Human Blockhead and World’s Worst Magician, emceed the event. When he wasn’t making bad puns and sticking nails up his nostrils he was amazing and frightening the crowd with his sword swallowing abilities. But it was Zenobia the Bearded Lady who got the most laughs at last night’s event. She sauntered onto the stage in a blue sparkly number and faux fur shawl and took jabs at women who pluck, pluck all their hairs away. She sipped her Heineken in between jokes and then began to juggle knives.
While Eak the Geek made audience members squirm as they watched him lay on a bed of nails while grown men stood on his torso. After a couple of minute of torture the gentlemen were escorted offstage and Eak seemingly unharmed cracked a couple of jokes and then took a bow.
Miss Ekaterina the contortionist did a sassy little number and twisted herself up into numerous pretzel-like positions. Not to be outdone Bambi the Mermaid performed a heartfelt lobster dance and stripped down revealing her clam.
The best part of the performance was seeing the reaction of the crowd. The performers have seen and heard it all and don’t seem to be bothered by it. They even encouraged audience members to look them up online and sign up for training promising that you too could learn some of their tricks and learn to scare off naysayers.
For more on the Coney Island Sideshow School click here and be sure to catch the performers live in Coney Island beginning the day after Easter.
It was Friday night, February 19, 2010 and Kathy Griffin ran on stage to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” following a montage chronicling her career. The crowd got to its feet as she ran across and curtseyed. You came on a good night,” she said, “It’s a good day to be a comedian, let’s talk some shit about Tiger Woods!” The crowd cheered. Hours after golfer Tiger Woods made his highly publicized public apology the fiery red head declared her new found love for Tiger Wood’s mother and her scolding looks during his “boring apology.” She couldn’t comprehend how a man seemingly so boring could entice that many women. Yet, she like many of the attendees agreed she’d marry him in a heart beat in order to get her hands on that billion dollar empire stating, “And you wouldn’t even need to fuck him.”
She tackled numerous subjects including the Gosslins, The Jersey Shore, her fall out with CNN following her latest New Year’s Eve co hosting gig with Anderson Cooper and getting acting tips from Liza Minnelli. She confessed that the previous night she had a couple of walk outs during her shtick of being a guest judge on a child pageant a la “Toddlers & Tiaras.” Shockingly, her comment about the majority of attendees being pedophiles didn’t initiate the walk out what did the trick was when she referenced JonBent Ramsey. When a fellow judge stated, ”that’s what we like to call glitzy” in regard to one of the gals having the “it factor” that merits winning a pageant crown Griffin retorted, “No that’s what we call dead in a week.”
However, uncomfortable jokes aside, the comedienne really seemed to hit her stride when she spoke about behind the scenes happenings at many celebrity-filled events. It’s her openness and self-deprecating nature that allow audiences to connect and relate with her and feel as if you’re one of her gal pals she’s gossiping with, and although she’s very well known and feared by many in the industry, for her sharp tongue, technically she’s still not A-list and we love her anyway!
Sunday’s ceremony opened with a sparkly performance by Lady Gaga and Sir Elton John. Gaga performed a rendition of “Poker Face” before being dramatically carried off by her male dancers and thrown into the reject bin of The Fame Factory. She later emerged covered in black smoke seated on a two-sided piano with Elton John. They performed a medley of “Speechless” and John’s “Your Song” where he added “How wonderful life is with Gaga in the world” which prompted Gaga to sing “thank you, love you Sir Elton John” to the melody of her “Speechless” closing bar. The duo received a well deserved lengthy round of applause. Although 2009 proved to be the year of Gaga the talented singer only went home with two statues in the pre-televised Dance category. “Poker Face” was awarded “Best Dance Recording” and her album “The Fame” won for “Best Electronic/Dance Album.”
But the next buzz worthy performance would come courtesy of P!nk, the singer wowed the crowd with her head turning, water spinning, acrobatic performance. She dangled above the audience twisting and twirling Cirque du Soleil-style performing a ballad that was overshadowed by her crowd drenching finale.
And speaking of overshadowing, the 3D “Earth Song” tribute to the late king of pop was overshadowed by the fuzziness displayed on the screen. Those who didn’t receive the 3D glasses memo had to strain their eyes to make sense of the shapes and colors bouncing off Celine Dion and company. Jackson’s kids would later take the stage to accept his lifetime achievement award.
Lil Wayne, Eminem and up and comer Drake took the stage performing a bleeping song that I lost all interest in hearing after watching the stars bounce along to no audio because of all the bleeped out curse words. A word of advise CBS if you’re gonna censor a song to that extent either a) ask the artists to amend the lyrical content for FCC compliance or b) don’t broadcast it at all cause 45 seconds of no audio every 20 seconds is really annoying.
And the grammy goes to:
Taylor Swift and Beyonce cleaned out winning the bigger awards of the evening. Swift picked up “Album of The Year” while Beyonce took home “Song of The Year” for “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” but the biggest shocker of the night was Kings of Leon beating out Beyonce, Swift and Gaga for “Record of The Year” for their song “Use Somebody.”
On the final Sold Out show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the New York native Lady Gaga gave it all up, “It’s my last night New York so tonight we get to fuck,” she said of her forth sold out night at the legendary music hall. She continued, “And we won’t have to call each other in the morning.” The crowd cheered and raised their paws in solidarity; it’s the rock n roll hand signal of Gaga fans who quickly adopted it after the release of her “Bad Romance” music video.
Her fans or little monsters as she calls them sang along to every song including those released last November. It was a night of fun, music, dancing but most importantly unity. Never in my 10 years of concert going had I experienced such a sense of comradely. Everyone was there to have a good time.
Gaga opened with “Dancing in The Dark,” performing behind a mesh screen that projected neon green lights. Throughout the number we’d get flashes of the singer traipsing through the set as her dancers one by one emerged gyrating from the dark. Once the screen was raised and the pop star was in full view the crowd lost their minds once more.
Visually the show was breath taking. Elaborate costuming aside the images projected were Avant-garde montages of the inner workings of Gaga’s artistic mind or her manifesto as she called it. The images could have easily been a part of an art instillation at MOMA but for Gaga it was her way of embracing the absurd or things inside oneself that one may fear and celebrating them.
It’s hard to believe that this time last year Lady Gaga was performing club shows and small venues, her music although popular hadn’t spawned a craze. Her eyebrow raising image has inspired thousands of copycats and as of last night Gaga is one show away from embarking on her first arena world tour.
Every dollar earned from Sunday’s show including ticket sales and merchandise sold went towards relief efforts in Haiti.
At the end of the day what makes Lady Gaga great is her eagerness to please, she like Tinkerbell lives off the public’s applause and adoration. And oh yea I forgot to mention she actually sings, live.
David Berkeley performed at Housing Works, 126 Crosby Street, in New York City Friday the 13th this past November. The singer/songwriter graced the stage after two great performances, one by Malaysian singer/songwriter Zee Avi who warmed up the crowd for David’s performance. Accompanied by his guitarist and banjo player, David played songs from his new album “Strange Light” that is a unique merge between Simon and Garfunkel and Greg Laswell. Hits such as Willis Avenue and A Moon Song showed David’s vocal strength and emotional vulnerability in his music.
The crowd sat on the floor, stood on the stairs, and filled up the two seating areas for two hours in anticipation of David’s performance. The small bookstore was packed wall to wall. David worked the crowd with anecdotes about his father who claims David should play more socially conscious songs, recommending a song about the economic environment. In which David responded by playing a song that he claimed could be interpreted as a politically relevant song, but not so much. His humor engaged the crowd, causing the show to be enjoyable beyond the music alone. David carried the show with the ease of a seasoned and successful artist. Afterwards, David did a meet and greet with fans showing his humility and same charming personality on stage.
The only element missing from the show was the presence of a percussionist to fill out the climax of the songs. However, his accompaniment added a great strength to his acoustic sound. His album “Strange Light” delivers this and much more, as each song is full and honest.
David will be touring in Georgia and Pennsylvania during December and January. Tour dates can be found on http://davidberkeley.com Â and on his myspace. If the shows are at all like his show in New York City, it promises to deliver great music with some humorous anecdotes. And who knows, David may have some new songs after taking his father’s advice.
Bowling shirts, bathrobes and tool belts were worn by numerous attendees on Tuesday’s New York City Lebowski Fest movie screening party. The first of the 3-day New York City Parties, day 2 and 3 included bowling parties, costumes were encouraged. I did feel slightly out of place solely sporting my “The Jesus” t-shirt, when I checked in at will-call and showed my state ID, I got a chuckle from the handler who said, “Look, The Jesus” as he flashed my ID to his colleagues. Only on this rare occasion did I not mind being called The Jesus instead of De Jesus (insert Spanish accent here).
The festivities kicked off with a performance by The Black Diamond Heavies, who played tunes from The Big Lebowski’s movie soundtrack prior to the screening of the movie. The Dude introduced the founders of the festival, a duo who was dressed like pinballs. After their brief introduction and rundown of the festival festivities, the three walked off stage and proceeded to mingle among the crowd, stopping to pose for photographs with attendees.
I was amazed by how enthusiastic and easygoing everyone in attendance was. They shared a common passion for the Coen’s 1998 cult film and felt right at home and would easily approach others in attendance to complement the other on their costumes or swapped stories on the first time they saw the film and which parts they enjoyed the most. Some even quoted lines from the film as they waited in line to get in.
The evening was full of exciting moments and excitable attendees, that night Terminal 5 roared with laughter and thundered with applause, it was a night unlike any other, but most of all it was entertaining as hell.
Kicking off the festivities on Saturday’s Sunset Strip Music Festival was Unwritten law performing an acoustic set at the legendary Viper Room. September 12th was the third and final day of the three-day festival which brought together artists like, Pepper, Kottonmouth Kings, Shiny Toy Guns and Fishbone on the streets of West Hollywood. The event featured two outdoor stages a West Stage and East Stage while legendary venues like Key Club, The Roxy Theater, Cat Club and Whisky A Go-Go hosted bands throughout the day and into the night.
The acoustic performances at The Viper Room came courtesy of Los Angeles rock station 98.7 FM, who partnered up with the event in order to bring exclusive acoustic performances and interviews to their listeners. Radio personality Kade was on hand asking all the
hard-hitting questions. He asked The Donnas what their favorite LA venue was, and of course they said, “The Viper Room.” When asked if they had any other upcoming shows on the horizon the ladies admitted, “This is it for a while.” While Iglu & Hartly of “This City” fame was surprised by the indoor crowd that gathered to watch their performance, “This is so cool that people are here to watch us play, I thought we’d be by ourselves,” stated a member of the California band that’s signed to the UK division of Island Def Jam Music Group, Mercury Records.
The number of security guards doubled at the East Stage prior to Kottonmouth Kings performance. Girls flirted with the guards hoping to get a bit closer to the stage, one young woman declared she loved one of the guards she had just met that day, and that she would marry him if he allowed her to stand in the pit, in front of the barricades, the spot reserved for photographers. He smiled and said, “Nice try” but once the OC hip hop group was on stage lighting up and making the crowd bounce up and down, the young girls had made their way to the front of the stage.
While over at the West stage the crowds gathered holding spots for their friends as they awaited performances from Korn and Ozzy Osbourne. The crowd began to chant hours prior to Korn taking the stage, “We want Korn! We want Korn! We want Korn! We want Korn.” Stagehands occasionally addressed the crowd with an update on when Korn would finally take the stage, which riled up the crowd even more. The moment members of Korn walked onto the stage the crowd began to mosh, the devil horns were up, and they were chanting along to lyrics that were drowned out by the crowd’s roars.
Last night’s MTV Video Music Awards was broadcasted from New York’s Radio City Music Hall and what a show it was. Russell Brand hosted for the second consecutive year and was better received by the VMA attendees proving that unless you’re well-known people won’t cheer for you no matter how talented you are.
The evening kicked off with a tribute to Michael Jackson. Madonna said some kind words about her time spent with him and then came the dance numbers. It was nice to see professional dancers tackle the moonwalker’s legendary moves instead of big named imitators who would have done a so-so job but since they’re famous we would have all been fooled to believe it was great. After the electrifying dance medley Ms. Jackson took to the stage and performed alongside her late brother (with his portion of the video projected behind her on a giant screen) their duet “Scream.” It was touching, moving and entertaining as hell. Bravo.
The performances were great, Beyonce put on a spectacular show with her “Single Ladies” while Taylor Swift took her performance to the underground and performed via a subway station and then on a moving F train that transported her back to the front steps of Radio City. P!nk performed acrobatic moves along to her hit single “Sober” while Lady Gaga performed a theatrical piece, a cross between Madonna’s VMA “Vogue” performance and Phantom of the Opera, the “Poker Face” singer bled on stage and ended her performance with flashing light bulbs and the sounds of paparazzi photographing her as she hung from a noose.
But undoubtedly the most blogged, talked and tweeted about moment came when Kanye West took the mic away from a stunned Taylor Swift as she accepted her moon man for “Best Female Video” for her single “You Belong With Me,” he stated, “Hey Taylor, I’m really happy for you, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.” Camera crews cut to their next skit leaving Taylor Swift in the dark onstage and unable to finish her acceptance speech. She then later got her moment to shine after a classy Beyonce accepted her moon man for “Video of The Year” stating how she remembered being 17 years old and being at the VMAs for the first time with Destiny’s Child and how important it is to have your moment. She then called out Taylor Swift who hugged her immediately then took a shot at her acceptance speech.
Closing out the evening was Jay Z with Alicia Keys as they performed “Empire State of Mind” off Jay’s new album “The Blue Print 3.” This year’s VMAs was far better than previous years it didn’t try too hard, i.e. Britney fiasco of ‘07 and the multi-camera and multi-performance locals of ‘08 which provided snippets of many of the big named performers in odd locations. This year’s VMAs were performance driven and didn’t appear to have any outlandish stunts. It got back to the core of what the VMAs are all about, a platform for performers to cut loose, put on a show and have a great time.
It was the type of concert that leaves you drunk with energy, flushed with excitement, and just happy to be alive. Standing on the upper balcony aboard The Temptress for the Rocks Off Concert Cruise, floating down the Hudson River, sweating like a pig but dancing anyway with fellow shipmates, you couldn’t help but have a smile on your face all throughout Electric Six’s performance, both from watching the band’s antics and from the equally amusing behavior of various audience members.
There was no end to the fist-pumping, crowd surfing, and moshing from the interesting mix of listeners, and a feeling of camaraderie was apparent as everyone let the music take them where it would. The rowdy frat boys at the front of the room screamed along to the lyrics from “Gay Bar” the tattooed girls wearing heavy mascara gyrated their hips while sipping their drinks to “Dance Epidemic”; a hippie-ish looking girl wearing a long red scarf around her head swayed to and fro as her male friend repeatedly looked up at the ceiling, closing his eyes and mouthing the words to every song as if he were praying. Everyone danced as if no one was watching. The energy was palpable.
Undoubtedly, one of Electric Six’s unique characteristics is the voice of the lead singer, Dick Valentine certain songs feature his deep, gravelly tones, while at other times, he produces a high falsetto. “Down at McDonnelzzz,” which the band played to the thrill of the crowd, incorporates both versions. Although Dick stood center stage, all members of the band were truly essential to creating the explosive atmosphere on the ship that night. The synths, played by Tait Nucleus? (the question mark is part of his name), lent an interesting complexity of sound to the songs, while The Colonel and Johnny Na$hinal’s intense performances on their guitars had the audience cheering madly. Percussion World played the drums so hard his face was slightly bloodied after the set was over, and Smorgasbord rocked out on the bass.
Bottom line: If Electric Six comes to a town near you, particularly if they are on a boat, go and see them. A musical experience like the one you’ll have at their show is a rare one, indeed.
NY Waterway’s Water Taxi played B-52s tunes as it loaded passengers and ferried them onto Governor’s Island on perhaps one of the hottest summer day New York has seen all summer. It was the perfect set up; a summer concert at the beach on Governor’s Island, the stage was set up on the far center, in front of where one of the ferries usually docks, a foot or more away from the sandbox like area dubbed “the beach.”
With the illuminated New York City skyline providing a nice backdrop The B-52s took the stage at approximately 9:00pm. Prior to the funky-foursome taking the stage a 64 year-old woman clapped and cheered from behind the barricades as she awaited the band’s arrival. The last time she saw them live was 29 years ago so she was eager to see what they’d be like this time around. The B-52s drew in a uniquely diverse crowd; people of all ages and different musical tastes were in attendance, one young woman sporting a Marilyn Manson t-shirt hooted and hollered from the front lines. A father and son team who had traveled all the way from Paris was also in attendance. Disembodied cries of “I Love You,” floated among the crowd as the B-52s took the stage. They kicked things off with “Pump” from their 2008 album “Funplex” the band’s first original album in sixteen years (since 1992’s Good Stuff). They performed hits like “Private Idaho,” “Give Me Back My Man” and “Strobe Light.” After thanking opening act, reggae group, Meta and the Cornerstones, Kate Pierson (vocalist) said, “If your name is Reba your name is in this song this next one is called “52 Girls.”
They’re perhaps one of the liveliest, colorful and most adored bands out there. Their dance moves (shimmies, Egyptian-like walking, the swim and others) were copied by the crowd. The entire audience seemed to know all the words to each of the songs.
Not even strong winds that seemed to materialize out of nowhere and the occasional flashes of lightening seemed to put a damper on the crowd’s mood. Before the band could get through the core of their repertoire and perform their most beloved hit, “Love Shack” they were escorted offstage by stagehands who promised to have them back on as soon as the storm cleared.
Many scurried onto the ferry while others waited it out as the heavens opened up, and it began to pour. The DJ spun tunes and asked the crowd to stick it out that the storm would pass but with every passing minute the storm grew stronger putting an abrupt end to The B-52s Beach Concert.
Asser Levy/Seaside Park was the place to be on Thursday, August 13th 2009. The 31st Annual Seaside Summer Concert Series held Thursday nights throughout the summer in Coney Island rocked to the tunes of Pat Benatar and Blondie.
The Donnas kicked things off with a brief set where the girls showed off their musical chops, Allison Robertson, shredded the guitar prior to, the band’s lead vocalist, Brett Anderson taking the stage. Maya Ford accompanied the opening on bass while an eager brunette played the drums filling in for Torry Castellano who was nursing an injury and unable to play. They performed a very brief set which included a performance of their smash hit “Take It Off.”
The lights onstage came up revealing members of Pat Benatar’s band, Neil “Spyder” Giraldo played some killer opening riffs on his guitar then Ms. Benatar took the stage and was greeted by a rousing round of applause and loud cheers. She smiled, waved and took a bow. She promised to get through as much of their repertoire as possible and cover each decade or at least sing a song from each album. She stayed true to her promise performing oldies like “You Better Run,” “Heartbreaker,” “Love Is a Battlefield” and “We Belong.” Prior to going into the ballad, “We Belong,” Pat asked fans to raise their cell phones in solidarity. “Spyder is gonna give you a history lesson,” Benatar declared and Spyder in about fifty-seconds gave the band’s entire history in a fast-paced speech.
Benatar’s set consisted of mini-detours down memory lane explaining to the young attendees all the lessons they learned through their journey and providing a brief background of some of the songs that cemented her career. In one of the funniest tangents of the evening Benatar said, “This next song I’ve been singing for more years than I like to remember. I hate this song. Every night before going on I ask Spyder, ‘Can we just not do it tonight?’ and he goes, ‘nooooo.’ So I’ma sing it for you guys tonight and when I get to the part I hate I want you guys to sing along cause I know you guys know all the words.” Then the opening bars to “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” filled the park and the audience rose to its feet, clapping and singing along.
And then came the moment everyone was waiting for, the New York return of Blondie. As they cleared the stage and loaded in Blondie’s equipment two-wigged young women shimmied away in front of the crowd to 50s music. They danced to songs like “Wild Thing” and did “The Swim” when the stage was set they blew kisses to the audience and exited stage right.
“It’s good to be home,” declared Debbie Harry once onstage. They opened with “Call Me” and followed it with “Hanging on The Telephone.” The crowd cheered and many who appeared to have camped out all day in order to secure decent spots stretched prior to the iconic band taking the stage. It was as if they were the ones who were getting ready to perform. The excitement was palpable many yelled out song titles in between songs and when the one they suggested was played they applauded extra hard and jumped in their spot as if they had contributed to the set list.
They performed most of their hits, “Tide is High,” “Atomic,” “Rapture” and “Heart of Glass.” The disco ball that hung above the stage glistened and rotated during the encore performance of “Heart of Glass” causing an even bigger uproar. But of course no concert is complete this summer without a Michael Jackson tribute. Towards the end of “Heart of Glass” the band broke into “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” the song blended nicely with the rest of the repertoire.
The members of Coldplay ran across the veiled stage with sparklers in their hands. They leaped and twirled like giddy school boys as the opening bars of “Life in Technicolor” played. Once the fire fizzled out the guys picked up their instruments and embarked on their two-hour set.
They performed tracks from every album including “Fix You,” (X & Y) “Yellow,” (Parachutes), “Strawberry Swing” (Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends) and “Green Eyes” (A Rush of Blood to The Head). In honor of Beastie Boy MCA who was recently diagnosed with cancer and therefore the Beastie Boys had to pull out of their All Points West performance Chris Martin dedicated a piano rendition of “Fight for Your Right” stating, “in honor of an absent friend, something Jay addressed on Friday” (referring to Jay Z’s cover of “No Sleep till Brooklyn”).
In the middle of their set the entire band shifted gears and performed on a high rise platform in the middle of the crowd and performed an acoustic version of “Billie Jean.”
Afterwards Chris Martin acknowledged the crowd’s bravery for walking in the mud and thanked them profusely for sticking around to see them, “I have newfound appreciation for you guys after walking in that shit,” he said. Prior to that he stated, “This is by far the smelliest but awesomest show we’ve ever played.”
The third day of the All Points West Music and Arts Festival got off to a slow start.
Rain and lightening threatened to shut things down, attendees were rerouted and housed in the Liberty Island train station and doors to the event did not open until 4:00pm, 4 hours behind schedule. Bands like Streel Train, the trio Kitty, Daisy & Lewis were forced to cancel their performances since they were slated to go on by or prior to 3:00pm. Acts like Silversun Pickups, We Are Scientists, The Black Keys and Coldplay got their moment to shine and went on as scheduled.
But the journey to Sunday’s show was nowhere near pleasant. Aside from the cold and wet commute and the wait inside of the train station there was an additional hour of waiting outdoors for no apparent reason. Once word got out that the show would go on the crowd began to turn on the outnumbered law enforcements who barricaded ticket holders outside of the venue despite organizers radioing in that the crowd should be granted admittance. Our media passes which granted us access backstage to the press area were ignored and we were told by one officer, “that won’t get you in, nice try.” By the time we were allowed in it was 5:00pm.
Ankle deep puddles of mud covered most of the generally grassy lawn and the smell of manure permeated the air.
The kind people of Twix handed out free frozen samples of the delicious chocolaty treat making the trek in the mud a little bearable. But undoubtedly what was on everyone’s mind was whether or not Coldplay would perform that night. “They better go on or I’ma get a freakin’ heart attack,” stated a young girl in a Viva La Vida t-shirt. Fortunately for her and many other attendees who half-jokingly stated they’d go ape shit if the British band did not make an appearance Coldplay did show up and what an amazing show it was!
Neither rain nor thunderous lightning could put a damper on Friday’s All Points West festivities, the opening date on the 3-day outdoor music festival, held once again on Liberty Island’s State Park; saw its share of downpour and sporadic waves of heat.
Numerous attendees arrived equipped with umbrellas and raincoats while others, who were caught in the rain, improvised and ripped up plastic bags and turned them into rain bonnets or mini ponchos.
While the media found refuge inside the press tent where a strong wi-fi [internet] connection and electrical outlets were made available as well as refrigerated drinks and warm snacks in addition to the bowls of pretzels and Chex Mix aligned on top of each laptop station.
Outside, the show went on and right on schedule. Chants of “Blake’s Got a New Face” vibrated off the Bullet Comet stage (a.k.a. the main stage) where Vampire Weekend drew a soggy following who danced along to the band’s charismatic performance.
And then after a solid 3 hours of pouring rain the heavens opened up and rays of sunshine beamed over the crowd.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs soon followed in an electrifying performance. Lead singer, Karen O, emerged onstage draped in a dangling black, multi-lettered getup that included skin tight flower-patterned leggings. She belted her heart out to opening track “Heads Will Roll.” Their set included hits like “Maps,” “Date With The Night” and “Cheated Hearts.”
The evening closed out with the self-proclaimed greatest rapper alive, Jay Z. He opened with his interpretation of “No Sleep Till Brooklyn a Beastie Boys classic and would later go on to say that they were true pioneers and the reason why he was a successful hip hop artist, “give it up for the Beastie Boys, they paved the way,” he said. But before Jigga Man took the stage strobe lights filled the sky bouncing off skyscrapers across the bay and occasionally illuminating the Statue of Liberty. After a nine minute countdown displayed on the stage monitors Jay Z sauntered onto the stage dressed in all black with his signature leather jacket and dark shades. The crowd greeted him with deafening cheers.
The moment the first beat dropped the kids took to the mud and danced on the water soaked grass splashing passersby in the process. He performed everything from his most recent material including the lead off track of his “American Gangster” LP as well as “99 Problems” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” from The Black Album Â to classics like, “Big Pimpin’”, “Can I get a” “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” “N***a What, N***a Who?” and “Jigga My N***”
After performing “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” clips of a young Michael Jackson flashed on the screens behind him which played to a snippet of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” Jay addressed the crowd saying “give it up to Michael Jackson the greatest entertainer of all time.” After a rousing round of applause and screams of “YEEEEEAAAAH” Jay continued, “We don’t mourn death we celebrate life, it’s a beautiful thing that he had five top ten album [after his untimely death] but what would have been beautiful was for him to see it. Don’t wait till the person’s gone to tell them you love them,” he concluded in a tone that conveyed sorrow.
Veteran and new fans underwent a religious experience June 4th, 2009 when IAMX stormed the stage at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City with an incredible performance tantamount to conversion.
Haunting images of puppets, Asian faces, among other equally random images, danced behind the band while Chris Corner, sporting a feather Mohawk hat, belted out his emotional lyrics, putting the crowd in a hypnotic trance. He was accompanied by Janine Gezang on keyboards, Tom Marsh and Dean Rosenzweig on bass and drums.
They performed favorites such as “Think of England” and “The Stupid, The Proud,” and “Nature of Living.” All on the new album Kingdom of Welcome Addiction available on the IAMX website.
The band, adorned in gothic make up and black clothes, incited the crowd to scream and sing along. Not one person could help but sing along. “You must demand, they must oblige” was much the air of the room. The crowd was happy to oblige to the hype.
What was even more surprising was the crowd of very different people, some dressed in a gothic style like the band, some preppy and plain, all came together in support of the IAMX united by the strong and passionate voice of Chris Corner.
His unique sound penetrated the mass because its emotionality, lyrical rawness, and fusion of electronica and melody. The electronica element acts as an amplifier to his voice as well as his performance. Equally impressive was Janine Gezang’s performance on the keyboards because of her overall energy and skill. After an hour-long set, the crowd was not yet done with them. The cheers lasted for almost five minutes until the band came out for a two-song encore.
The music of IAMX has promises to be a fresh voice that can convert music altogether.
Miss Derringer performed June 19th, 2009 at the Highline Ballroom in New York City, opening for Girl in a Coma. The band came on stage with cowboy-style uniforms, bandit bandannas, patches of razors with a heart in the middle, and small metallic crosses on their hats and belts. Just as the outfits fuse together different styles of country, rock, and religion, so does the music of Miss Derringer.
Opening with “Click, Click, Bang, Bang” Miss Derringer introduced themselves as a conglomeration of sound whose roots may be southern and retro but their interpretation of that is indefinable by any conventional musical genres. Morgan Slade named one his many influences to be Johnny Cash, and the deep, bass tone of his melodic voice points to that. Though their sound can be qualified as country, not all their songs fall under that umbrella.
Songs such as “Black Tears” and “Bulletproof Heart” show the range of their style and sound. A throw back to a 1950s tempo and melody colors their music fun. Exciting even. Whereas, songs such as “Tonight I’ve Got a Bottle,” whose lyrical content references depression and heavy-drinking, draws a darker tone, balancing out the range quite well.
Miss Derringer herself, the beautiful Miss Liz McGrath, embodies that range all on her own. She stepped out in a leotard-tight red outfit, her hair styled up, large and blond, dancing along to her vocals with a bouncing energy, fitting the tone of each song perfectly. After the show, she explained her back-up dancers were unavailable for that show but would be rejoining them for the rest of the tour.
Though they played for intimate crowd, Miss Derringer made their mark in New York City. And much like their fashion, they have a style all their own.