Sunday, August 30, 2009

Oasis Split


One of the most influential bands of a generation, one of the greatest bands to grace us with their music is done. Just before taking the stage Friday night in Paris, brothers Liam and Noel got into a scuffle that left Noel leaving the band for good. On the bands blog, Noel posted "I feel you have the right to know that the level of verbal and violent intimidation towards me, my family, friends and comrades has become intolerable. And the lack of support and understanding from my management and band mates has left me with no other option than to get me cape and seek pastures new." Noel has told his fans that his experience with Oasis was "a dream come true."




In a statement from the band's publicist the remaining members of the band are considering going on with Oasis without Noel, who was the principal songwriter, lead guitarist and co-singer of the band. This is still up in the air, however, coming from the stand point of a hard core fan of the band, I feel not having Noel in Oasis is like having The Who without Pete Townshed. Just call the band something else.




This has been on the build up since the band abruptly cancelled an appearance at V Festival in England last weekend. Sighting that Liam fell ill, the English tabloids were all over this story calling an end to the band even before Friday's events in Paris. It has been noted that after this tour, Noel did want to pursue a solo album venture. The man that discovered the band, Alan McGee who signed them to his Creation record label in the 90's, feels they will eventually reconcile like they always do and get back together. McGee told BBC news "But they love each other - they'll come back together," he predicted. "I think you'll have a reunion tour in about five years time. They love each other. When people love each other, they'll always make peace." Time shall tell.



I was fortunate enough to see Oasis twice, both on the floor at Madison Square Garden. The first time back in 2005 on the "Don't Believe the Truth Tour," and this past December in support of the band's latest Dig Out Your Soul. Take a look at my review HERE. Whatever the future holds, they still remain one of my top favorite acts of all time and I am taking this split to heart....

RIP DJ AM

1973-2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

EXCLUSIVE! THE GRATES INTV!!!



When a new act catches my attention it, like most, is all about the music and sound they make. However for Australia's The Grates, it is not just the music, but how much fun they are having doing what they do. I came to find out about the band during their residency at Piano's in downtown New York City. I unfortunately missed the band and because I saw they sold out each and every single show, I had to look them up to find out how such a small band could sell out a venue for such an extended period of time. After take a few listens, I understood why. The band has been compared to No Doubt meets Yeah Yeah Yeah's in their native Australia, however, they have a bit of a punk edge to them. I had the opportunity to speak to the band's beautiful and charismatic singer Patience Hodgson. We discussed the band's residency in New York, acclaim back in their homeland and their new record, Teeth Lost, Hearts Won which will finally be released in the US next month. Take a look at my interview with Patience....

Australia has given the world some great artists. From AC/DC to The Living End to Silverchair to Wolfmother. How do The Grates fit into the legacy of Australian rock?

Patience Hodgson: Ha, we don't! We're a different pattern, cut from the same majestic cloth. That's as close as we get. Those bands are more socks and jocks, and we're more capes & bras.

What are some bands from back home that the US has not been exposed to yet and we need to know about?

PH: Oh I'd thought you'd never ask...
1) Violent Soho - Rocking the suburbs with their nerd hearts, long hair, and grunge aesthetic. This band is a must see. Expect them on your shores later this year or early next.
2) Dappled Cities - cerebral guitar pop songs for the young at heart and wise of mind. Earlier this year, they too resided in NYC to write, record, experiment, and came away with a killer album 'Zounds'. Also you must check out their Alphabreaks for Disney New Zealand - amazing!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8xo1Yg7j3U

Is it at any point awkward to play massive festivals around the world, headline gigs and then go back home? What is the feeling like being away for so long then returning back to Brisbane?

PH: Well, I love my job. There's total awkward moments but they also count towards your adventure as a whole. For eg we just had a mini tour where we went up to play Hillside in Guelph, Canada, then played a show in Toronto which we left immediately after as we had to get back to our third gig at Piano's the next day. It was a long drive, pretty exhausting cos I'm a driving pussy but Alana & John got us there. Anyways, after the Piano's show, at around 1 am when we were taking all the gear back to our room, a tyre blew. I guess awkward is not the best word to describe it but it's the most polite. It made our tour more adventurous. Part two, being away from Brisbane feels like I'm living on a new planet and my old planet freezes up while I'm gone. It's at a stand still while I'm away. Totally impossible, but that's how I feel. My little brother's gonna be a teenager when i get home. Weird.

Your style is very unique and eclectic. Who are your influences?

PH: Bank balance, that is my biggest influence, and fun. You can do whatever you want on stage so why not?! One time I dressed up as Bat Girl so I guess Yvonne Craig, the original bat babe, was once a very strong influence.

Because the nature of your sound has no much variety, what is the songwriting process like?

PH: Weird, like angry magic. We're trying to make it more like retro magic cos anger is so crappy. But in the most explainable sense we either write as 3 or as 2. All depends on the day & who's available. We also take a very, very long time.

You worked with the great Peter Katis (Interpol, The National) what was that experience like?

PH: Awesome! He has such a great set up & excellent ears, and a really good assistant. He's really good at making things sound high end & organic. I think that comes from his set up, which is great equipment, in a normal, homey room. He also has all the bands stay with him during the week too which I think melds the whole process together & helps blur the lines of professionalism & let's everyone just relax & get on with it.

I found this remark on your website and fell in love with it. You had compared your music to "Where the Wild Things" monster, why is this?

PH: Making an album is scary. And while you're making it, it can feel much bigger than you. Sometimes you just look at it and it's a stranger, a big hairy monster! Then you blink and realize it doesn't want to eat you, it's soft and furry and just wants to play.

You recently have been doing a residency at Piano's in New York City. What is that experience like, staying in one club in one city for a long amount of time?

PH: Great! I loved it. I am so sad now it's over. I'd be happy if I could do that every Wednesday for the rest of my life. The audience was always great, the Pianos happy hour burger is always spectacular & I love the room. It's fun sized.

Has spending time in New York City influenced you as an artist?

PH: I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Lord I hope so. I hope some of your dirty, relaxed, social personality rubs off on us. I'm scared of the winter though.

What can we expect next from The Grates?

PH: Shows and an album release. I can't wait to have 'Teeth Lost, Hearts Won' made official. We're playing Mercury Lounge soon, come out & boogie!

Special thanks to Patience and Brady Brock for the interview!



Video for "Aw, Yeah" (Above) / The Grates live at SXSW 2009 performing "Burn Bridges" (Below)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Live Review - Nine Inch Nails @ Terminal 5 (Night 1)


In many ways I have said "Goodbye" to Trent Reznor and his touring outfit of Nine Inch Nails more times than I initially thought I would. Starting the summer concert series off with the band's co-headlining venture with Jane's Addictions, the NIN/JA tour at Jones Beach and closing out the summer saying goodbye, officially again, to one of the greatest live bands that ever hit the road. However, this time was different, it was much more special, it was much more intimate, it was much more Trent. After rethinking about it, Reznor felt that NIN/JA was not the proper send off for his bands and his fans, so the singer decided to do a small club tour, a swan song in New York City, Chicago and LA. Being one of the lucky few to see one of these gigs was witnessing history.

Packed like sardines in a tin can, 3,000 hardcore NIN fans (which included Kanye West and girlfriend Amber Rose, Gerard Butler, Howard Stern and his wife Beth, and True Blood's Alexander Skarsgard) crammed into New York's Terminal 5 for night three of Reznor's four nights in New York. The previous nights were at the 500 person Bowery Ballroom, and the 1,500 person Webster Hall (which saw the band playing The Downward Spiral in its entirety). Last night was a bigger venue, but enough to feel so close to the action. Engaging his fans from the moment he walked on stage, opening with "Home," Reznor had his hands in the air as a Christ like figure singing to his followers. From start to finish for the 2 1/2 hour set, the heat was up and the intensity never died. What I loved about this concert was the fact that everyone who was in there, wanted to be, there were no fair-weather Nine Inch Nails fans at this concert and I doubt at any of these small club gigs. It was people who screamed every word, who sweated out everything they had and entertained Trent and his band as they entertained them.

A night filled with bittersweet moments, with Reznor saying to his fans "I am really going to miss you guys, thank you for everything." Out of the four times I have seen the band (2006's With Teeth Tour, Lollapalooza 2008, NIN/JA and last night), it was the most he ever spoke to his audience. Discussing the band's early days (he did the same at Lollapalooza last year), his hero's such as David Bowie (before breaking out into "I'm Afraid of Americans") and how this really was it for him. Like Michael Jackson said in his presser for his London 02 concerts, "This is it! I mean it this is it!" I get the same feeling from Reznor, that this really is it. His life on the road and whatever he has done in between has taken a toll on the legendary front man. These are his times of stopping, yet completely understandable. We sometimes forget that rock Gods are human too. The thing is NIN is still going to make music in the studio, just not go on the road for it, it is touring that Trent is receding from. Which in many cases is the true shame of it all, going to see this band is one of the most intense experience's one will ever witness from a live show and this is what fans and generations to come will be missing.

The highlight of the night came when Reznor was discussing his early days in a van and how Bauhaus were the first band to really recognize and believe in what he was doing. That being said, Bauhaus front man Peter Murphy came on stage to perform "Reptile," and Bauhaus' "Kick in the Eye." Murphy would later return in the encore to cover Joy Division's "Dead Souls," a track NIN covered for The Crow soundtrack in the mid 90's. An incredible night to say the least and an experience I will never forget. Closing with "Hurt," Reznor mapped out his fans feelings in the famous song, "Everyone I know, goes away, in the end...."

Opening the show was UK goth rock / electro outfit The Horrors. The Horrors spared no expense and took the stage as if they were headliners. Backed by a lighting design and effects, had this been any other concert, one would never guess they were not the top billing. What a brilliant live band! The band's mix of goth, electronica and alternative sounded better live than on disc. Playing a 35 minute set and closing with the epic single "Sea within a Sea," The Horrors are one band I wouldn't mind seeing over and over again.

Nine Inch Nails Setlist Terminal 5 8/25/09 "Wave Goodbye"
"Home"
"Terrible Lie"
"The Beginning Of The End"
"Discipline"
"March Of The Pigs"
"The Line Begins To Blur"
"I'm Afraid of Americans"
"Ruiner"
"The Big Come Down"
"Burn"
"Gave Up"
"La Mer"
"The Fragile"
"Non-Entity"
"Eraser"
"The Way Out Is Through"
"1,000,000"
"Letting You"
"Survivalism"
"Reptile" with Peter Murphy
"Kick in the Eye" with Peter Murphy (Bauhaus Cover)
"The Hand That Feeds"
"Head Like A Hole"
Encore
"The Frail"
"The Wretched"
"The Day The World Went Away"
"Dead Souls" with Peter Murphy (Joy Division Cover)
"Wish"
"Hurt"














video

Photo and Video credit to THE CREATURE. More Photo's of the event can be found on "With This I Think I'm Offically a Yuppie" Facebook Page ---Link at the bottom of the blog!!!

Album Updates

After a quiet absence, Massive Attack are coming back!! First with an four song EP out October 6 that will feature TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe guesting on the song "Pray For Rain. Then in February a full on new album with guests such as Damon Albarn, Hope Sandoval, Martina Topley-Bird, Guy Garvey and Tunde Adebimpe. One record for 2010 I am already anticipating!

Also dropping an album of collaborations this fall is world famous DJ Tiesto. Tiesto's new record Kaleidoscope will be out October 20 and features a slew of guests such as Tegan and Sara, Jonsi of Sigur Rós, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party, and Emily Haines of Metric.

On September 9 the wait for the most anticipated rap album of the year ends...No not Dr. Dre's Detox, but Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon's sequel to his 1995 solo debut, Only Built for Cuban Linx will finally be released. Only Built for Cuban Link II features Slick Rick, Busta Rhymes, The Lox, Wu-Tang members; RZA, Inspectah Deck, Meathod Man and Ghostface Killah. Ghostface will appear as his alter ego, Tony Starks and the main vocal collaborator to the album. Raekwon also enlisted RZA, Dr. Dre, J. Dilla, Pete Rock, Marly Marl, Necro, The Alchemist and Allah Mathematics as guest producers.

Right before they released last years best record Accelerate, REM debuted tracks at a series of five dress rehearsal concerts at Dublin's Olympia venue in the fall of 2007. Now those five nights have been complied into a double live album and DVD directed by French film maker and friend of many bands, Vincent Moon. Look for the REM Live at Olympia this fall.

Kings of Leon on Conan

As the band tours the West Coast they made a stop at Conan O'Brien. Take a look at Kings of Leon on The Tonight Show.

Also in Kings of Leon news, in a recent interview with Billboard.com, drummer Nathan Followill said the band plan to issue a remix album. After hearing that some artists such as Justin Timberlake, Pharell and Lykkie Li (who covered the band earlier this month at Lollapalooza) have covered or remixed tracks, Followill explains "It's neat to have these people who we would've jumped at the chance to work with ourselves...coming to us before we even get a chance to ask them." No word yet on when the remix record will be out.

Playlist

Here are some jams I have been kicking out for the hot month of August...

-Bloc Party - "One More Chance"
-Riceboy Sleeps - "Boy 1904"
-Royal Chains - "Wolf"
-Goldfrapp - "Ride a White Horse"
-Air - "Do the Joy"
-Phoenix - "Rome"
-U2 -"Staring at the Sun"
-Ramones -"Rockaway Beach"
-Silversun Pickups - "Panic Switch"
-Arctic Monkeys - "Crying Lightning"
-Kings of Leon - "California Waiting"
-Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Contender"
-David Byrne and Dirty Projectors - "Knotty Pine"
-The National - "Ashamed of the Story I Told" (Polaris Cover)
-Radiohead - "These Are My Twisted Words"
-Airborne Toxic Event - "Wishing Well"
-Beastie Boys feat. Nas - "Too Many Rappers"
-The Roots - "How I Got Over"
-Muse - "United States of Eurasia"
-Big Audio Dynamite - "Rush"

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lightning Bolt & Jay-Z Tracklistings

Influential Rhode Island based band Lightning Bolt is set to finally release their sophomore album, Earthly Delights in October. Take a look at the trippy cover and track listing below...

01 Sound Guardians
02 Nation of Boar
03 Colossus
04 The Sublime Freak
05 Flooded Chamber
06 Funny Farm
07 Rain on Lake I'm Swimming In
08 S.O.S.
09 Transmissionary

Also unleashing track listings this week was Jay-Z for his much anticipated Blueprint 3 which is due Sept. 11, exactly eight years after his first Blueprint. You will find Jigga only does three tracks solo and the rest of the 15 song opus has guests. One guest that is noticeably missing is his Brooklyn neighbors, MGMT, the psychedelic duo were supposed to do music for a track and they are absent. Also, some songs that were on the original planned version that was supposed to drop last year are missing such as "My President is Black," "Jockin' Jay-Z" and "Brooklyn We Go Hard" featuring Santigold. Anyhow, here is the track listing for Blueprint 3...

'What We Talkin' About' (feat. Luke Steele of Empire Of The Sun)
'Thank You'
'D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)'
'Run This Town' (feat. Rihanna and Kanye West)
'Empire State of Mind' (feat. Alicia Keys)
'As It Gets' (feat. Young Jeezy)
'One' (feat. Swizz Beatz)
'Off That' (feat. Drake)
'A Star Is Born' (feat. J. Cole)
'Venus vs. Mars'
'Already Home' (feat. Kid Cudi)
'Hate' (feat. Kanye West)
'Reminder'
'So Ambitious' (feat. Pharrell)
'Young Forever' (feat. Mr. Hudson)

Quick News

Oasis front man Liam Gallagher has sent out some rare nice words of encouragement to his brother Noel about the possibilities of Noel doing a solo album after the band's world tour wraps next month. In an interview with NME, Liam says "If it [doing a solo album] makes him happy, yeah, if it makes him happy. It would sound very civilised I reckon… [that's] a fucking awful thing - but maybe it's a good thing." Liam then goes on to say "If it was up to me I'd have six months off and then get straight back in the studio and make records," he declared. "That's what I'm in Oasis for. I'm not here to fucking sit around for five years twiddling my thumbs." Liam is featured in NME this month discussing his latest clothing line, Pretty Green Clothing. That issue of NME is on newstands now.

Also speaking to NME this week was the newly sober Pete Doherty. Doherty told the magazine that his first band The Libertines will reunite next year and play festivals in 2010.

Speaking to allhiphop.com Outkast member Big Boi dished out some new details about his new solo album Sir Lucious Leftfoot: Son of Chico Dusty. Big Boi told the site that his solo effort will be out "soon." Big Boi also said a new Outkast record is almost on its way! "For all you Outkast lovers, the album is coming. I'm tired of talking about it, and know y'all are tired of hearing me talk about it. But it's coming, and the album is fire!" Big Boi told allhiphop.com, I for one cannot wait!

Peter Bjorn and John are re releasing their latest record Living Things as a remix album entitled Reliving Things. Reliving Things will feature guest appearances from Bun B, Gza and Talib Kweli.

Also reissuing some material is influential German techno band Kraftwerk. The box set entitled Kraftwerk 12345678 will be out to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their landmark 1974 hit Autobahn on October 6th, 2009. However, due to licencing restrictions in the US, only five of the eight records will be available. Bummer.

Pearl Jam Behind the Scenes

Pearl Jam - Backspacer Short


Pearl Jam showed off some Behind the Scene's footage on MySpace to the making of their forthcoming release Backspacer. Take a look, it has some great bites from the band and snippets of some tracks and let me tell you, they sound amazing!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

EXCLUSIVE! LA ROUX INTV!!!

Earlier this year I named La Roux as one of my "Rising Artists," to keep an eye out on and I only hope you took my advice. The British singer is on the fast track to super stardom and is making heads turn one single at a time. Within the past month she has been featured in almost every music magazine world wide and as her major label debut is set to finally hit State side next month, the electro queen will have you begging for more. With elaborate stage shows, cleaver lyrics and catchy beats, La Roux will have you hitting repeat over and over again. I had the opportunity to speak with the woman behind the moniker, Elly Jackson as we discussed her influences, a strong rise in female music and her new found acclaim. Take a look at my interview with the spunky Elly aka La Roux below....

1) Your sound is very unique and just so much fun. Who are some of
your influences?


Michael Jackson, Prince, David Bowie, Tears For Fears, Yazoo, Depeche Mode

2) There seems to be a surge in female fronted electro acts these days. From Lady GaGa to Little Boots to Ladyhawke, how do you feel you stand out?

Hasn't there always been a lot of female electro artists? It's just now its become a standard
press tactic to lump them all together and call it a scene. It's for other people to say how much we stand out but I'm happy that we're leaders not followers

3) As a new artist how does it feel to have your single "Bulletproof" shoot to the top of the UK charts?

Vindicated! In For The Kill was no 2 for 4 weeks straight and after Michael Jackson died we had an anxious weekend waiting for the chart but once we heard it was like, oh...great...is that it?!! Plus now all of our singles have to make no 1 or I'll be massively upset (joke)

4) It has been revealed that your first interest in music was folk music. How did you manage to shift sounds and tastes that are as different as night and day?

Ben and myself had been writing on the acoustic guitar and we were both, independently of each other, getting a bit bored with it. Its very difficult to come up with something new and fresh on the acoustic. One day i was at home listening to Speak And Spell by Depeche Mode and the following day I played New Life to Ben and said "this is what i want us to sound like!". It was like a eureka moment and Ben said, great! that's my favourite type of music and we spent the next few weeks exploring a new way of working, we ditched the guitars for synths and haven't looked back since

5) Your music is a throwback to the sound of the 80's. This seems to be a popular trend among musicians these days. Why do you think this is?

It's a great era for music! Better than the 90s and 00s. Massively so. So I guess that's why.

6) Who were some of your influences from the 1980's and beyond?

see answer 1

7) What is it like to be nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize this year? What are some of the emotions you are feeling?

I think Florence or the Horrors will win. I'm looking fwd to the show but not expecting to win hence my emotions are in check!

8) Your style and fashion is a great compliment to your sound. Describe your fashion and how it plays a role in your music.

Oh that's another question for people like you to answer!

9) The reviews of your debut have been pretty high. How do you respond to such high praise?

With a doff of my cap

10) Do you think it is still a big deal for a British artist to make it in America?

It's still a very big deal because America is such a big place and its so rare for a UK act to do it these days. It's a long old job trying to crack it....

11) Is there anything you would like to say to America or anything you would like to say to your audience here?

Have you been to the Thom Thom Club?

12) With acts such as yourself, Glasvegas, Bloc Party and The Editors to name a few. Do you feel we are on the brink of another British invasion in music?

If so its a very polite invasion. hello America, would you mind awfully if we came and sold a few downloads to your children? You would? oh ok


Special thanks to Elly and Tony Beard for the interview!




Video for "Bulletproof" (Above) / La Roux performing "I'm Not Your Toy" at iTunes festival (Below)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Quick News

Speaking to Billboard, Glasvegas front man James Allen told the magazine that they will begin recording the follow up to their debut in LA in October after the band wraps up their whirl wind world tour.

Aussie heavy rockers Wolfmother have announced the track listing to their forthcoming record, Cosmic Egg. The album will be out in October, Wolfmother are currently supporting The Killers in North America. Take a look at the track listing for Cosmic Egg below:
'California Queen'
'New Moon Rising'
'White Feather'
'Sundial'
'In The Morning'
'10,000 Feet'
'Cosmic Egg'
'Far Away'
'Pilgrim'
'In The Castle'
'Phoenix'
'Violence Of The Sun'

Whenever Radiohead ever does something it always seems as if the music world just ceases and sits back in awe. Last week a "new" Radiohead song was discovered online, the track entitled "These are my Twisted Words," maybe something coming from the band's new sessions with long time producer Nigel Godrich. If this is a new track, it would follow singer Thom Yorke's recent comments about how the band wanted to stay away from making conventional records. Hmmm, I think they are on to something and are testing us. Take a listen to "These are my Twisted Words," below.

MSTRKRFT on Letterman

Back in June MSTRKRFT hit up Ed Sullivan Theater with John Legend to promote their latest record Fist of God. Take a look!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

RIP Les Paul

R.I.P Les Paul
1915-2009
For anyone that has ever picked up a guitar, he is the man to thank.

The Verve Breakup (AGAIN!)


Just when things were looking on the upside after last years comeback tour and new record, according to reports The Verve are done for good. This is such unfortunate news and coming off the heels of just reporting that guitarist Nick McCabe and bassist Simon Jones were forming a new band, The Black Ships, McCabe and Jones are done with singer Richard Ashcroft forever and have not spoken to the singer since the release of last year's Forth. With reports coming from UK'S Mirror, “As far as Nick and Simon are concerned the Verve no longer exists,” a source close to McCabe and Jones said. “They think Richard was just using the reunion as a vehicle to get his solo career on track.” The reunion was in shambles from the get go at the end of 2007 when Ashcroft was tired of McCabe's hard partying rock star ways, “Their management called Simon and Nick in for a crisis meeting in September. They were told that Richard refused to tour or work with them again as long as Nick continued to drink,” a source told Mirror.

This is the third time the seminal British band has called it quits, the first time the band broke up was in the mid 90's then got back together again to record one of the greatest albums in the history of modern rock, Urban Hymns, which featured the breakout single "Bittersweet Symphony." Once the band hit the mainstream highs they split again in 1998, nine years later they got back for reunion shows in the UK then a headlining slot at Coachella 2008 and a mini tour which I was fortunate enough to see. Little did I know it would be the last time The Verve play New York City together as a band. In between the nine year hiatus, Ashcroft released three solo albums and Simon Tong formed the band The Good, The Bad and The Queen with Blur's Damon Albarn and The Clash's Paul Simion in 2007.

Seeing the band at their final New York concert one would never guess they would never want to play again a few months later. They are a band that music needs and one music will miss, yet their legacy and what was will live on. Take a look at my Live Review of The Verve at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in April of 2008 HERE.

Arctic Monkeys on Fallon



Just before Lollapalooza Alex Turner and Co. hit up Jimmy Fallon to play their latest single "Crying Lightening," off their forthcoming Humbug.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Live Review - Lollapalooza Day 3

After surviving the heaven's opening up on us on Friday, being burned on Saturday, the forecast for Sunday call for record highs....awesome. As we were scorched by the sun, the final day of this year's Palooza brought out a conglomerate of emotions and expectations.

Starting the day off with Ra Ra Riot, the Syracuse band did not disappoint. Violinist Rebecca Zeller is a hell of a performer and gave the band a presents that would echo throughout the day. Following Ra Ra we caught Alaska's Portugal. The Man. Like a cracking whip in a lion's den Portugal seized the opportunity to get the crowd in motion. Certainly the loudest thing to come from Wasilla, Alaska aside from Sarah Palin's big dumb mouth.

I split Portugal early to get a great spot for Airborne Toxic Event. The band I was looking forward to most at this year's festival turned out to be my favorite band all weekend. They were beyond amazing in concert, taking their serious songs and having fun with them and the crowd. A great set that would see singer Mikel Jollett jump into the crowd multiple times and constantly thank his audience. With their hour long set they played a majority off their debut, and broke out a new song that not only left me speechless, has me waiting with baited breath for a new record.

After Airborne Toxic Event's fantastic display, came Dan Deacon. The Baltimore via Purchase electro artist has a cult following that would rival most jam bands. Deacon was made to be a performer and his wacky sense of showman ship shines through his sounds and style. Deacon would set up the fans for Vampire Weekend. Drawing one of the biggest crowds of the festival, the Ivy league afro rockers made their preppy intelligent sound shine through their audience. Dressed like they just stepped out of a J. Crew catalogue, Vampire Weekend sounded and looked like the essential summer band and I do not think I would have wanted to see them anywhere else. I had the opportunity to hang out with Vampire Weekend in the airport the next day, and after telling them I could not wait for the new album, the band unanimosly said "neither can we!" Discussing drummer Chris Tomson's new sneakers and how much singer Ezra Koenig needed a new pair of Topsiders, the band were really nice and cool and were glad everyone enjoyed their set.

As Vampire Weekend brought fun in the sun, Cold War Kids brought aggression and ringing ear drums to their set. Cold War Kids dangling sense of musical style is one that has gotten the band much attention and they sounded great. As soon as Cold War Kids finished, the audience had a big split decision to make with two legends in their own right, Lou Reed Vs Snoop Dogg. Catching Snoop first, the rapper drew another one of the largest crowds with hands in the air and herb being passed, Snoop knows how to get a party started.

While leaving Snoop Dogg's party early we ran to see Lou Reed, it was a must see event since Lou was personally asked by festival organizer Perry Farell to play his festival. The legendary art rocker did his work, but like most acts only given 60 minutes, Reed may not have gotten the memo and played for almost 90 cutting into Band of Horses set. Reed however, did breakout his classics from "Walk on the Wild Side," and "Heroin" while Lou kept on playing and upsetting many, I split to see more acts and was glad I caught the New York legend.

On my way to Silversun Pickups, I had to drop into Perry's DJ tent to see MSTRKRFT. The DJ's drew a very impressive crowd and threw a dance party bigger and better than anyone all weekend long. From dancing hard, I then went to rock hard with Silversun Pickups. Another impressive band that left my jaw on the floor. They were indeed the surprise act of the day, taking their Smashing Pumpkins influence and kicking it up a notch, Silversun sounds better live than on any album.

After nine hours in the sun, night finally came for The Killers. Closing out the festival weekend, The Killers went against Jane's Addiction, however, The Killers gave their audience a reason to stick around. A very similar set as to when I saw them in January at Madison Square Garden, singer Brandon Flowers would tell stories on the band's beginnings to how it was for them to be playing to their biggest crowd in North America that night. The Killers slaughtered their audience and left us victims to their stage show. Closing out the weekend with an anthem that every person needs to hear live, at least once, "When You Were Young" and having plenty of pyro, fireworks and lighting they could not have found a better closer for this years festival. All in all, this year's Lollapalooza may have not been as exciting as last years, but the quality of artists and the magic of the festival still rings out. I can not wait to do it all over again next year!





Lou Reed (Above) / MSTRKRFT (Below)



The Killers

Portugal. The Man.
Airborne Toxic Event




Dan Deacon (Above) / Vampire Weekend (Below)



Live Review - Lollapalooza Day 2


If day one was full of rain, day two brought the sun in full force. With the heat cranking up to the 90's and sweat pouring from everyone like rain drops from the day before, day two of the Chicago festival was an oven cooking with talent.

We started off catching Dirty Sweet, a California band that sounds similar to Black Crows with roaring guitars and pounding drums, they were a great way to kick start the day. We then wandered over to Delta Spirit, another California band that had a sound which was a hybrid of Dr Dog meets Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. A fun and catchy band, as soon as their set was done we went off to do a little dancing in the blazing sun with Chicago based DJ's MoneyPenny. The Female fronted electro duo brought a European flair to their set that reminded me of being at a discotheque on the Mediterranean.

From electro we switched it up with grass roots folk from Brooklyn's Langehorn Slim. The trio of upright bass, small drums and Slim on guitar were wildly entertaining. Playing a majority of songs from his forthcoming album, Langehorn was a great addition to the day and an act I have been trying to catch for a few years. With all of the great acts, they were all openers in my mind for the breakout band of the day and one of the great one's of the whole weekend, Los Compesinos! The most fun I had all day watching any band. The energy they had reminded me of The Go! Team meets Gogol Bordello from last year's festival. Los Campesinos! made a new fan after their magnificent set.

After a quick break we saw the most anticipated band of the whole festival, the UK's Arctic Monkeys. The Monkey's drew a crowd I had not seen in the two days I spent at Lollapalooza, playing a majority of songs off their forthcoming Humbug, as great at Alex Turner and Co., were they lost the attention of many from the crowd with the unknown new tracks. Even with their hits "Brianstorm," and "I Bet You Look Good on the Dance floor," as great as the Monkey's were, the crowd thought they were lackluster. From Arctic Monkeys, we ran across Grant Park for my band, Glasvegas. Any avid reader of this site knows my love for this band. Making their American festival debut, Glasvegas were fantastic as always, what more can I say. I even had the chance to meet up with bassist Paul Donoghue and drummer Caroline McKay later that night and discussed their set. They were really thrilled to hear some great fan reaction and were open to meeting the people that put them up on that stage.

The marathon of bands continued as Rise Against took the stage for a hometown throw down. The most aggressive and intense band on the bill, starting off their set with singer Tim McIlrath screaming "LET'S GO!" The band brought an intensity not seen at this years festival, with pits forming and hands beating the air, the Chicago thrash punkers got the crowd in motion. McIlrath would even go on to dictate the history of Grant Park, from the Chicago '68 convention and when protesters clashed with cops, to Obama's Novemeber 4 victory speech. Social and political issues were never far off his tongue.

From Rise Against we caught Lykkie Li, the sexy singer had her crowd bumping and grinding with a set that even included a cover from Kings of Leon. After a few songs from Lykkie, we ran over to finish out TV on the Radio. The Brooklyn art rockers sound may have been a bit off, but the energy on stage made up for it. The are a hell of a band to see, playing a majority off last year's Dear Science, they closed with their first break out single "Staring at the Sun," and dedicated their set to MCA of Beastie Boys. As soon as TV on the Radio walked off stage, Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 began. Harper's new band is a funk induced blues that rocked so hard everyone watching would not turn away. The highlight of the band's set came with a great cover of Led Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times," a great band and maybe Harper's best yet.



The final decision of the second day was to split the headliners between Tool and Yeah Yeah Yeah's. Since the Yeah Yeah Yeah's were next to Harper's stage we started off with them and all I can say is.....WOW! Filling in last minute for Beastie Boys, I could not turn away from how fantastic they were. The Brooklyn trio was already at a disadvantage for filling in for the legendary rappers and are no where near the same ball park. However, everyone that doubted what the Yeah Yeah Yeah's could do, ate their words. Karen O walked on stage as an American Indian and the trio proved their worth turning the crowd into a full on dance party. A great live band that I underestimated, tossing two huge inflatable eye balls into the crowd during "Zero," and Karen O having a voice like no other. It was such a great set that I missed Tool and do not feel bad at all.

Glasvegas (Above) / TV on the Radio (Below)

Yeah Yeah Yeah's

Langehorn Slim

Los Complesinos!


Arctic Monkeys

Glasvegas


Live Review - Lollapalooza Day 1


The event that has been a year in the making for my friends and I. After going to Lollapalooza last year and making every effort to do it again, here we are! If you remember we took a 15 hour car ride from Jersey City to Chicago, this year we opted to fly out and proved to be a very smart thing.

Day 1 of the festival looked doom and gloom from the get go, with clouds and overcast above us, we knew it would be a sloppy day. We arrived as the doors opened to catch the new buzz band, Hockey. The dance infused garage rock band ala Strokes meets LCD Soundsystem were amazing. As the band's set got hotter and heavier, their sound was mysteriously cut. The band had no idea what to do but break out into an impromptu drum solo and toss beers into the crowd. As the rain began to poor, we turned our attention to Georgia hard rockers Manchester Orchestra. Manchester Orchestra were easily the break out band of the day and festival right from the get go. A very hard, aggressive sound that led to humble speeches as they were grateful to be playing to their biggest crowd to date.

We kept up the intensity by seeing of the few hip-hop acts on the festival bill, The Knux. The New Orleans via L.A. duo were hilarious, outgoing and pure fun to witness. Each song from The Knux could easily be a single and hits kept coming. From hip-hop we went punk and caught New Jersey's finest Gaslight Anthem. One of my favorite new bands to emerge, Gaslight's set created a roadblock in scheduling as they went against White Lies. We decided to stick with the Jersey punks and it was well worth it, easily one of the best acts of the whole weekend. Singer Brian Fallon maybe the nicest front man around praising Lolla organizers and saying how his first concert was a Depeche Mode show and how it was an honor to be playing the same festival and day as the legendary band. Gaslight Anthem may have been the rookies at Lollapalooza, but I expect to see them on more of Lolla's bills in the future.

After four great bands we took a break and bounced around from Heartless Bastards and Bon Iver. The former Gaslight Anthem tour buddies, Heartless Bastards female fronted southern rock was fun to catch. Slipping into different sounds, catching Bon Iver may have been a mistake. The lo-fi band may sound great on disc and in the studio, but live they are very boring. As the weather got worse, catching their set made the day seem longer. As soon as Bon Iver finished, Ben Folds took one of the main stages as the rain came rushing in buckets. The quirky, cunning and cleaver master of the ivory's was a solid act to catch. Playing a majority off his new album Way to Normal, Folds even tossed in some favorites like "Army Song," and his cover of "Bitches Ain't Shit." As Folds hip-hop cover classic was a highlight, one of hip hops new acts was starting off. The over hyped and obnoxious Asher Roth came on one of the side stages and was another waste of time. Roth is a novelty act and nothing to write home about, I doubt we will ever hear from him after 2009. From Roth we caught the electronic act Crystal Castles. Castles were interesting to say the least, if their set was at night it may have been better with the amount of lighting and antics they had on stage.


From electronica we went to bookworm rock and roll with The Decemberists. Playing their new album Hazards of Love in its entirety, the Oregon art rockers showed what they can do on stage. They can go from aggressive to gentile in just a few bars, a good set that makes me want to re listen to the album, I just wish for this festival they mixed it up a bit and threw more of their classic jams into their set. After seeing how good Peter Bjorn and John were opening for Depeche Mode just a few days before Lollapalooza, I decided to see them again for a longer set. Not only were they great in New York City, they rocked Chi - Town better than before. The Swedish trio are an act not to be missed!


After a very long day in the rain, it finally came down to the two final acts....Kings of Leon Vs Depeche Mode, young Vs old, Electronica Vs Rock, experience Vs perseverance. After seeing a brilliant set by Depeche Mode just a few days before in front of a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden, I decided to go with Kings of Leon. It was very interesting to see what a year makes for a band, seeing them play last year at All Points West in front of a few hundred people, to seeing them in front a few thousand now at Lolla was an experience all in its own. Singer Caleb Followill discussed how when the band were at Lollapalooza in 2003 (back in its final year as a touring festival), that no one went to see them and now headlining the main stage. It has been a tremendous year for the Followill clan and making their headlining US festival debut, in years to come they will be the hottest ticket in the festival circuit. A great American band to close a great American festival, solid first day, the next are bigger and better to come....




Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem (Above) / The Decemberists (Below)

Peter Bjorn and John (Below)



Caleb Followill



Hockey

Manchester Orchestra

The Knux


Gaslight Anthem

Incubus on Fallon

Incubus hit up Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week before two sold out shows at Radio City, take a look!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Live Review - Depeche Mode @ MSG

Anytime Depeche Mode go on tour something always pops up to sideline them for a bit. In the 90's it was singer Dave Gahan's drug problems, on the last tour 2005/2006's "Touring the Angel," Gahan suffered laryngitis and was forced to cancel some North American dates. This past summer Gahan was diagnosed with a form of cancer, canceling a slew of shows at the top of the tour and once they hit the road again, he tore his calf muscle. Gahan has become one of the most unlucky front men around. However, after seeing the band three times (including last night), my theory is that all of this pain and suffering makes Mr. Gahan stronger. Madison Square Garden was an all out dance party for the first of two close-to-sold out concerts from the legendary British group.
Every time I see Depeche Mode they constantly out due themselves, last night was the best I ever witnessed. Playing for a solid two hours, Depeche Mode brought out the hits, deep cuts and new ones to please fans of any kind. Opening with "In Chains," off the band's brilliant new disc Sounds of the Universe, and going into the new stadium anthem of "Wrong," DM were in top form. Gahan had a smile on his face all night as he swung around stage like a Gothic Elvis and spun around like a ballerina, you would never know the guy had a cancer scare just a few months ago. Guitarist Martin Gore was decked out in a mirror ball suit that only Martin Gore could wear, while keyboarded Andy Fletcher had his signature sunglasses on and composed the programming section like a conductor to his orchestra.
What keeps me going back to seeing Depeche Mode is the atmosphere generated by the fans and the bands sights and sounds. Fans from all over the world fly into the US because when they tour Europe they are the hottest ticket in town, MSG looked more like UN last night with tourists from Italy, England, France, Croatia and as far as Russia came in and built a vacation around seeing their heros. As much as the sound and band's performance is important to any show, Depeche Mode rank up their with U2 on making their concerts a spectacle. Backed by a giant LED screen with a giant ball sticking out of the center, a glow in the dark stage and a axis of lights the would have the rigs weaving in and out like a sewing machine, the English trio made their fan's get their monies worth. With semi pornographic, spacey and serious images floating behind the band on that giant screen, it kept the audience's attention that even the fair weather Mode fan being dragged by a lover or friend was entertained. The highlight of the night easily came during the always show stopping "Enjoy the Silence." With the crowd screaming the lyrics, and Gahan forcing everyone to have their hands in the air, it was just a sight to be seen. What a band, what a night! Depeche Mode are going against Kings of Leon this week at Lollapalooza and after last night my choice to split the evening just got more difficult.
Opening the show was Sweden's Peter Bjorn and John. The quirky trio had some sound problems right from the get go, even blowing a speaker, but once things got fixed they were awesome. In a brief 25 minute set, that would see Peter jumping into the crowd, and his band mates dancing on stage, they were a perfect opener and the only band on the planet that could make whistling sound so damn cool in a song.

Depeche Mode MSG Set List 8/3/09
In Chains
Wrong
Hole To Feed
Walking In My Shoes
It’s No Good
A Question Of Time
Precious
Fly on the Windscreen
Little Soul
Home
Come Back
Policy Of Truth
In Your Room
I Feel You
Enjoy The Silence
Never Let Me Down Again

Encore 1:
Stripped
Master And Servant
Strangelove

Encore 2:
Personal Jesus
Waiting for the Night

Quick News / Newsletter

Take a look at these two awesome album covers for records arriving next month! First is Jay-Z's cover for the highly anticipated Blueprint 3 and then is Muse's psychedelic cover for their new one The Resistance.


Members of The Verve and Goldfrapp are teaming up to form a new super group. Guitarist Nick McCabe and bassist Simon Tong of The Verve along with violinist Davide Rossi of Goldfrapp and session drummer Mig Schillace will form the new band The Black Ships. The group formed when The Verve were in session recording last year's Forth. This does not mean The Verve have broken up again, these members are pursuing other endeavours in the meantime. At the moment their are no recording and touring plans, but they are working on something!

ATTENTION!!! The blog will be taking a break starting tomorrow as I fly out to Chicago to cover Lollapalooza!! However! Never Fear! Expect a ton of updates on the 11th, as I promise to deliver (like last year) the web's most extensive review of the great festival with photos and hopefully some sound bites from musicians. Also, stay tuned in the coming week's ahead as I have some special things planned with England's La Roux, Australia's The Grates and England's hottest little rising star Little Boots! The next month will deliver some great things to the site!