Road Warriors 12

While there is still no official word on when Guns N’ Roses will release their Chinese Democracy album, there is word that some of the band’s tour dates overseas have been postponed. Bassist Tommy Stinson has a wrist injury that has forced the band to pull out of shows in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Japan that were to begin tonight.

The original members of the legendary Spinal Tap are reuniting for the Live Earth show at London’s Wembley Arena on July 7. The band even has a new single called “Warmer Than Hell,” to fit the global warming theme of the event.

With an appearance on “Dancing With The Stars” scheduled for May 1 and other numerous national TV gigs in the coming weeks, Meat Loaf is already in promotion mode for his upcoming “Three Bats” tour that kicks off July 18 in New York City’s MSG Theatre. Here are Read the rest of this entry »

And now, your new music Commandments

Just had this dropped in my mailbox by one Mojo Flucke, and it’s an instant contender for Single of the Year. Ladies and gentlemen, “Thou Shalt Always Kill” by Dan Le Sac vs. Scoobius Pip. God, I can hear the answer records to this one already.

American Idol: Shocking, Indeed

Last night’s “Idol Gives Back” results show started off with Ryan Seacrest claiming that this would be the “most shocking result” in the history of the show. Surely he didn’t mean Melinda was going home? Or Jordin Sparks, after that awesome performance on Tuesday? I have to admit, I was scared.

Then they cut over to Ellen DeGeneres, who was the satellite co-host to a plethora of musical artists, and there was an otherwise star-studded group of guest performers and visitors. It was a long show, and I promise you I’ll try to sum it up in as few words as possible.

Musical guests who performed live: Earth, Wind & Fire, Il Divo, Rascal Flatts, Josh Groban with an African children’s choir, Kelly Clarkson with Jeff Beck, Celine Dion with the ghost of Elvis, and Annie Lennox. EWF was awesome, Josh Groban makes me irritated and I’m not sure why, and Kelly Clarkson was as good as I’ve ever heard her….and proved that she could still blow away anyone else who’s ever won this thing. Oh, and a word on Il Divo…I’d never seen these guys before….but really, who wants to watch four opera singers doing pop? Big freaking yawn-fest.

They also showed the judges visiting various places like Africa, and battered parts of America such as New Orleans….it was all heartfelt, riveting and frightening at the same time. But then, the show on this night was a telethon so this is what they had to do.

Quincy Jones and Bono both had their chances to work with the Idol contestants. Jones wrote a song specifically for this show, and the Idols performed it…and it was, as you would expect, really great. Bono coached them but they didn’t show him until the end of the show, and they performed another group song as the show ended. (And for the whole show, the contestants were dressed as the Good Humor Man…what was that all about?).

Meanwhile, other folks who made random appearances were Ben Stiller, who gave us a terrifying rendition of The Little River Band’s “Reminiscing” in various segments, trying to raise millions of dollars in the process. Dude also gave a shout out to Pure Prairie League….oddly enough, I am that band’s publicist. Ben, the check is in the mail.

They showed both Madonna and Carrie Underwood in Africa, with Underwood performing The Pretenders’ “Stand By You” to a bunch of kids there. I’m not sure why, but it was mildly disturbing.

Jack Black got up on the main stage and sang Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose,” and then asked for the judges to honestly critique him. The best was Simon, who said it was better than Sanjaya, but then it got funnier. Seal was actually sitting next to Randy Jackson! That was probably the highlight of the show…sorry, Elvis.

There was also a video of a bunch of celebs singing “Stayin’ Alive,” including Teri Hatcher, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Hugh Grant, and that’s about all I remember.

Okay, now for the shocking results. Throughout the show, the contestants were brought to safety one by one. First, Melinda. Big sigh of relief. Then, Blake. I was surprised there. Then, Phil. Good for him. Then, Lakisha. Uh-oh. That left Chris and Jordin. And all of a sudden, my wife says, “maybe the shocker is that no one gets eliminated.” Why, yes, that’s it! I agreed and knew it was coming, and that’s what happened. Chris was safe, leaving Jordin, but then Ryan said Jordin was safe too. Which means the votes are carried over and we have double elimination next week.

I think they said they raised like $30 million by the end of the show, and I’m sure that at least doubled by the end of the night. Good for them, as that much money really has to make some kind of difference somewhere.

But now back to reality, and back to the competition……Phil, Blake, Chris, Lakisha…….you’ve got a 50/50 chance next week of being eliminated. So bring your A game. See you all then…

American Idol: Pitching In For Change

Tonight’s “American Idol” was a bit of a prelude to the bigger show tomorrow, which is a 2-hour “Idol Gives Back” episode. Basically a portion of the voting proceeds tonight will go to charity, namely to help needy communities both here and in places like Africa.

Ryan Seacrest started out the show by saying he was excited to have Bono as this week’s mentor, but then I didn’t see Bono in any of the segments with contestants. So either Seacrest was mistaken, or Bono didn’t want to be filmed. Hmmm. Well, being that this was a show for charity, I’ll reserve judgement and just get to the performances, in order of my own power rankings.

1. Melinda is still the champ until someone knocks her off that perch. She sang Faith Hill’s “There Will Come a Day” and, as you would expect, it was phenomenal. Like, in another league, again. Randy said it was “so dope,” Paula said it was magical, and Simon said the best part was that it wasn’t a “copycat” performance, but rather that Melinda made it believeable and that it was like a “vocal master class.” Yeah, pretty much.

2. Jordin went last, and used the pimp spot to her advantage. Jordin sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and though it started out just a tad pitchy, she delivered the song with a conviction you may never hear a 17-year-old match again. Jordin is the only one in this competition that comes close to Melinda, and may even have enough talent and charisma to win it all. Randy said it was her best vocal, and one of the best in the competition ever (not sure about that), Paula said it was an amazing song and a “lovely job,” and Simon said it was fantastic.

3. Phil took advantage of the fact that he may have found his niche with country music, singing Garth Brooks’ “The Change.” It wasn’t exactly twangy, but more like a Michael Bolton-esque performance.
I thought it started good but got a little boring–however, the judges loved it. Randy said Phil is “back again” with a nice vocal, Paula said Phil has found his comfort zone and that it was his best vocal, and Simon said it was a good choice and that Phil could wind up going really far here.

4. Chris went first and sang Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.” I thought it was just okay, but that Chris helped himself with some nice vocal acrobatics toward the end. Randy said that Chris was “in it to win it,” Paula said she was proud of him, and Simon said that he’s feeling like the competition is just starting and that it was a great way to start the night (i.e., Simon shares my sentiment that he’s just glad Sanjaya is off the show).

5. Lakisha once again took on another former Idol champ, singing Fantasia’s “I Believe.” Comparing Lakisha to Fantasia really only shows Lakisha’s flaws and that is a problem. It wasn’t quite as bad as when she tried to sing a Carrie Underwood song, but it was still just okay. Randy said it was a great song choice but that it’s hard to match up to Fantasia, Paula said it was great but not quite Fantasia, and Simon said it was an emotional performance but that some it was shouted.

6. Blake sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” and I’m going to come right out and say it. It was BORING. Like, really boring. Randy said it was a good choice but just “aight,” Paula said it was beautiful and simple and she liked it, and Simon said it’s hard to pick a song like that and make a great performance out of it. In other words, Simon was saying that Blake didn’t destroy it, but he didn’t really separate himself from the pack with it, either. I think Blake separated himself the wrong way and may be going home.

So that’s it. Six remaining contestants took on songs that had inspirational connotation and some were awesome, some were really good, and some were just okay. Consider that this is a competition between Melinda and Jordin, and you shouldn’t be surprised to see any of the other four make an exit from here on out. I think Lakisha and Blake have a similar chance of going home, but that Blake was less inspiring and therefore may have punched his ticket first.

A 2-hour show tomorrow? A star-studded lineup including Carrie Underwood’s legs? Will there be more leg than Haley Scarnato? Will Underwood sing as nasally as she always does? Will Bono actually make an appearance? Will 2 hours be too long? Well, I can certainly answer that last question with a resounding “YES.” But I’ll be watching with the rest of you. See you then…..

Video Vault – AC/DC

“It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock N Roll).” ‘Nuff said.

Video Vault – Nick Lowe

“All Men Are Liars” from Party of One. Those damned dancing flowers were finally put to good use.

New video fun from Sniff The Tip

Suffice it to say I rarely promote my own wares over here, but our good time scientists over at Sniff The Tip have concocted a wacky new video to go with the rest of the jolly viewable trash we’ve created. This video is entitled “Big Shots” and finds STT being thought-provoking and idiotic once again. This clip is semi-NSFW due to the graphic nature of a few of the pics included. Dig it, children.

Road Warriors 11

It’s been four years since Linkin Park’s last album, and on May 15 the band will be releasing the follow-up, Minutes To Midnight. The band will also be headlining the Projekt Revolution Tour this summer, which is expected to begin in late July and run through around Labor Day. More details about dates and bands on the bill will be announced soon.

British songstress Lily Allen has blown up as fast as anyone in recent memory, and she has continued to write music while on tour in the U.S. In fact, she’s itching to head back into the studio before the ideas dry up, causing her to shuffle some of her tour dates here. The adjusted dates are as follows:

4/29 – Indio, CA @ Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
5/13 – Seattle, WA @ Everett Events Center (KBKS’s “106.1 Girls Night Out”)
5/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
6/01 – Charleston, SC @ Center Stage at The Plex (95SX Listener Appreciation Show)
6/12 – New York, NY @ Roseland Ballroom
6/15 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival

Country mega-stars Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood are all slated to perform at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 15. Each of them is nominated for awards in various categories. If there is an award for showing the most leg, Underwood will win it, hands down.

Another former American Idol finalist, Elliott Yamin, is hitting the road in support of his self-titled debut album, a 25-city tour that kicks off May 15 in Atlanta and runs through June 19 in Tucson. The CD, which was released on March 20, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Independent charts and has remained there since. Tour dates Read the rest of this entry »

American Idol: Now We Can Get On With Our Lives

Christmas came early last night, as Sanjaya finally got booted off of “American Idol.” I have to admit, I didn’t see it coming and that made it even sweeter. Dude obviously sucked even more than usual on Tuesday night, and he couldn’t overcome the fact that everyone else in this competition is light years better than he is, stupid hair and stupid mustache or not.

But just like last week, we were tortured with a one-hour results show. The group song was first, “I’m Alright,” and for some reason it was more bearable than usual. Then the first guest artist (is this becoming a trend with multiple guests?) was Fergie, who, if you can get past all the weird performance techniques, is really quite a good singer.

Then Ryan Seacrest launched into more about next week’s “Idol Gives Back” episode, promising more stars than originally announced. Here is what scares me: the show will probably be a 3-hour marathon.

Finally, the contestants were broken up into three groups: Sanjaya, Lakisha and Blake; Phil, Jordin and Chris; and Melinda. Ryan told Melinda she was safe, and then promptly asked her to join the group she thought rounded out the top 4. Melinda did the politically correct thing (did you expect anything else?) and just sat in the middle of the stage. Ryan then told her to move toward the Phil/Jordin/Chris group and we had our bottom 3 of Sanjaya, Lakisha and Blake. I knew Lakisha would be there but I was surprised with the other two–I expected Sanjaya would keep his charade going longer, and while I thought Blake underachieved Tuesday night, the judges disagreed with me. But there he was.

After a shameless promotion for “Shrek 3,” Martina McBride performed and was as awesome as she always is. There is no flash, no performance technique, no fluff with Martina….she just sings her ass off every time. Then her daughter jumped up on stage and had some banter with Seacrest and the contestants, and let’s just say the girl has a future in comedy.

The first to be sent back to safety was Blake, and it was down to Sanjaya and Lakisha. I really thought Lakisha was going home, but when Ryan said the words, “Sanjaya, you are going home tonight,” I had that same feeling I got when the ball rolled through Bill Buckner’s legs, or when Scott Norwood’s field goal attempt went wide right. Yeah, I’m still a New York homer, but I digress…..Sanjaya is finally off this show, and now we have a real competition.

But folks, I’m here to tell you that this will be a two person race of Melinda and Jordin…..the next four eliminations can go any way they will, because it will still come down to those two. Or, maybe someone will totally surprise us the next few weeks. That’s why they play the games, and that’s why having Sanjaya off this show is like fog lifting from the airport.

Rock on, America, and see you next week…..

Great Big Sea are a great big blast to see live

It’s common knowledge that you can’t always trust everything that comes out of the mouth (or the pen, or the computer) of a publicist. It’s not their fault; they’ve got a job to do, and that job is to put the best possible spin on the product they’re pimpin’ this week, making it sound fan-fucking-tastic whether it actually is or not. In the case of Great Big Sea, however, I say this to Monica Hopman of Think Press: you weren’t lying.

Monica told me I needed to go check out Great Big Sea at their Norfolk appearance at the Attucks Theater, but I was on the fence; I checked out a few samples at her suggestion, and I said, “Okay, well, they sound like Carbon Leaf, and my wife likes Carbon Leaf, so maybe I might swing by, if I can find a babysitter.”

She wrote back immediately and said, “I will tell you they are better than Carbon Leaf, having seen Carbon Leaf open for Great Big Sea years ago. Their live shows are simply amazing! Bring your kid, because you’ll find families – grandparents, parents, kids – all there, dancing and singing along to every song. Lots of Canadian flags waiving and beer flowing… What is more family than that?!?!?”

Okay, fine, I was sold.

Circumstances beyond my control – including a sick kid, a wife stricken with a headache, and an unscheduled bridge lift – led me to miss the first 45 minutes of the show, however, and I was briefly considering blowing it off entirely…but, man, I’m sure glad I didn’t. Now, keep in mind that this isn’t a formal concert review, since I walked in having missed 2/3 of their opening set and knowing almost none of their songs…but, still, I was so taken by the proceedings that I’d be remiss if I didn’t write at least a little something about it.

Monica was right on the money. The crowd was as disparate as any I’ve seen in some time; in the front in front of me were two little girls under the age of 10, teenagers were plentiful, and for every person my age (mid- to late 30s), there were as many who were a decade or two, sometimes even three, to be found. Even more oddly to me, however, was the fact that I didn’t recognize a single person; this might not seem weird to you, but I go to a fair amount of concerts, and I can’t think of the last time where I didn’t see anyone I knew. This was a very unique crowd of folks…and they knew every freaking word! They were clapping during virtually every song, and they never missed a cue to leap to their feet and dance…and, let me tell you, any band who can inspire four teenage girls to take to the aisle and begin a spontaneous rendition of the Riverdance must be doing something right.

Not only did Great Big Sea sound phenomenal, performing acoustically and switching up instruments (a mandolin popped up on a few occasions), but they were funny, too. They had a pleasant stage presence throughout, telling stories about the origins of their songs as well as throwing in the occasional anecdote of personal experience, like the time they found themselves opening for Barney.

Yes, the purple dinosaur.

I’ll tell you: I’ll be back the next time they’re in town, and not only am I bringing my wife, I won’t be afraid to bring my parents, either. Again, once more for the record, Monica was right on the money: a Great Big Sea concert is a family experience, and I’ll be glad to share it with mine.

Check out their website here, and see if they’re coming to your town anytime soon. You’ll get caught up the frenzy just as readily as I did, guaranteed. If you’re still unsure, though, try this CD/DVD combo of one of their performances:

It won’t be the same as being there, but it’ll give you a surprisingly good idea of what it’s like.

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