Posts Tagged ‘Rock’
» posted on Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 at 12:44 am by itsakpopthing
After pulling off the remarkable feat of bringing two progressive rock legends such as Magma and Univers Zéro to Washington DC for the 2010 edition of the Sonic Circuits Festival, cult independent label Cuneiform Records has done it again. Even if November is generally not as thriving on the live music front as the spring and summer months, the label has brought excitement to fans of genuinely progressive music (of both the rock and the jazz variety) with two events: Cuneiform Curates the Stone, a series of concerts taking place from November 15 to November 30 at John Zorn’s avant-garde space in NYC’s East Village, and a more concentrated, two-day bash aptly called CuneiFest, organized on November 19-20 at the legendary Orion Studios in Baltimore.
While RIO/Avant-Prog (as the subgenre is often called for ease of reference, though somewhat inaccurately) does have a hard core of dedicated supporters in the US, it lacks the following it enjoys in Europe, where the Rock In Opposition Festival, organized in southern France in September, has now reached its fourth edition. The presence of one or more bands identified with this particular subgenre is guaranteed to send people literally running for the exits at any US prog festival, and even the bigger names like the above-mentioned Magma or Univers Zéro have often proved controversial. No one, therefore, expected crowds of hundreds of people to show up at the Orion on Saturday, November 19. Indeed, Cuneiform mainman Steve Feigenbaum had put a mere 65 tickets on sale, and expected to sell no more than exactly that number. I am happy to report that Rock Day was sold out: the small, cozy space of the Orion was nicely filled by people convened from various parts of the country, as well as farther afield (like Israel and Norway), comfortably sitting on the chairs provided by the Cuneiform crew. On each chair a bright yellow flyer was draped, containing detailed information not only on the day’s schedule, but also on the surrounding area (as well as the lunch and dinner menu).
For such a small, family-run enterprise, the Cuneiform team (consisting of Steve, his wife Joyce and her right-hand man Javier Diaz, both in charge of the promotional department, plus various interns) did an extremely impressive job in organizing the day. The main stage area was not as cluttered as it usually is when people bring their own chairs and coolers, leaving hardly any room to move around, and the lights festooning the walls created a festive feel in that small, high-ceilinged space. As the Orion is located at the far end of an industrial park, with very few amenities within walking (or even driving) distance, the organizers had contacted a local Italian restaurant in order to make a selection of food, both hot and cold, available to the attendees for a very reasonable price – set up buffet-style in the space opposite the Orion’s main body. The beautiful, relatively mild weather encouraged people to eat their lunch outside, enjoying the sunshine and the community atmosphere already inherent to most Orion events. To me, music and food are a quintessentially perfect pairing, and the convivial aspect was one of the highlights of the event, providing the attendees with the opportunity to chill out and socialize after each intensity-packed set.
The six bands selected for the Rock Day emphasized the amazing diversity within a subgenre that is all too often dismissed as over-intellectual (even within a non-mainstream genre like progressive rock) or just plain noisy. While none of those bands could ever be described as catchy or accessible, and very clearly not everyone’s cup of tea, most of them belied the fearsome reputation of avant-prog as a bunch of purveyors of jarring, melody-free fare. All of them were also homegrown, hailing from such diverse environments as Colorado, New York, New England and California – a very significant move on the part of Cuneiform, and probably not just motivated by the inevitable financial considerations. In spite of many US prog fans’ obsession with foreign bands, it is easy to forget that in a such a large country, especially in these times of economic strictures, witnessing a performance of any act based on the other side of the country, or even a couple of states away, is anything but a frequent occurrence.
Steve Feigenbaum opened the festival, greeting the audience and introducing the first band, the quaintly-named Alec K. Redfearn and The Eyesores – one of the projects in which Redfearn, a singer-songwriter from the historic New England town of Providence, has been involved for a number of years. The six-piece that graced the Orion stage had one of the most distinctive configurations I have ever seen in progressive rock, actually featuring almost no typical rock instrumentation. With contrabass, horn, organ, percussion and assorted objects, and the accordion (played by Redfearn himself) used as a pivotal element, the band’s profoundly fascinating sound possessed an unmistakable Old World flavour. Out of the six bands on the lineup, they had the highest melodic quotient, though a subtly skewed kind of melody, with a mournful, hypnotic quality intensified by the drone of Orion Rigel Dommisse’s organ and her plaintive vocals. While the strong folk component of the band’s music reminded me of modern acid-folk outfits like Espers, with hints of The Decemberists (especially as regards the Americana element and the dark lyrical matter), the many different ingredients of such a heady musical mixture made it quite unique. The longish, complex songs were surprisingly easy to follow, with “Wings of the Magpie” coming across as a particular highlight. Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores are a band that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone willing to dip their toes in the avant-prog waters, but still find the prospect somewhat daunting.
When, after an half-hour break for more socializing and refreshments, Los Angeles quartet Upsilon Acrux took to the stage, the contrast with the previous set could not have been greater. In an evening that presented a number of interesting band configurations, Upsilon Acrux’s minimalistic two-guitar, two-drummer approach easily won first prize – at least in the sheer energy and volume stakes. Having reviewed the band’s most recent album, 2009’s Radian Futura, I knew what to expect – an angular, dissonant aural onslaught, with enough manic energy coming out of the two drummers (Dylan Fuijoka and Mark Kimbrell) to light up a whole town, and a conspicuous absence of melody. In fact, Upsilon Acrux delivered a 30-minute performance that – while riveting to watch, particularly on account of the drummers’ uncanny precision in laying down jaggedly intricate patterns in perfect unison – bordered dangerously close to white-noise territory. The two guitarists, founder (and only constant member in a band known for its revolving-door policy) Paul Lai and his sidekick Noah Guevara, churned out slashing, piercing chords of almost unbearable intensity. It was math-rock in its purest form, so brutally intense to make the likes of Don Caballero sound tame – and, needless to say, it left a sizable part of the audience rather perplexed. Even those who listen to RIO/Avant-Prog as a matter of course found the band’s uncompromising approach a bit hard to take, and almost everyone agreed that a longer set would have discouraged at least some of the attendees. The band’s somewhat dour presence, with little or no interaction with the audience, also seemed to parallel the spiky, bristling nature of their music. On the other hand, Upsilon Acrux were definitely worth watching (albeit in small doses), and an excellent addition to a lineup that showcased the wide-ranging musical offer to be found under the Cuneiform umbrella.
Next on the bill were New York-based quintet Afuche, who had recently released their first album, Highly Publicized Digital Boxing Match. In a way, the title is an accurate representation of the band itself – another high-energy outfit, though imbued with a sheer sense of enthusiasm, as well as a distinct Latin flavour (the band’s name actually refers to a very distinctive percussion instrument used in Latin jazz). Their 30-minute set, while full of sonic clashes and crashes, was also spirited and entertaining, with a charismatic focal point in keyboardist/vocalist/percussionist Ruben Sindo Acosta – a wiry, diminutive dynamo with a rakish mustache and a curtain of black hair, jumping up and down when pounding the keys of his rig, or bashing his drums with unadulterated gusto. His facial expressions were a sight to behold, while his vocal style owed a lot to traditional Afro-Cuban music, though infused with a manic energy all of his own. Saxophonist Andrew Carrico also cut quite an interesting figure – tall and lanky with long hair and an impressive mustache, wielding his blaring baritone sax with a bit of a swagger, while guitarist Zach Ryalls, bassist Denny Tek and drummer Ian Chang (all three looking very young) kept a lower visual profile, though laying down the groundwork for Ruben’s unflagging energy and showmanship. With plenty of groovy, infectious rhythms and a genuinely omnivorous attitude, Afuche were for many the true revelation of the evening.
New York power trio Zevious had been one of the highlights of ProgDay 2011, so I was looking forward to seeing them again – as were those in the audience who had also attended the North Carolina festival in September. Those expecting a repeat of that astonishing Sunday-morning set, however, were in for a treat, because the band’s CuneiFest set felt markedly different – as tight as ever, but with a sense of almost claustrophobic intensity derived by the indoor setting. In the compact, dimly lit space of the Orion, the unrelenting, yet seamlessly flowing stream of music produced by the band’s three members created a veritable wall of sound, endowed with a mesmerizing quality akin to the best King Crimson instrumentals, with hints of the primeval heaviness of Black Sabbath in the slower passages – always loud and powerful, yet never one-dimensional (unlike Upsilon Acrux no-holds-barred assault). While my playful description of “King Crimson on steroids” might be fitting in some ways, Zevious are definitely much more than that. Possibly taking to heart my criticism about their lack of interaction with the audience at ProgDay (mostly motivated by the early hour and the unfamiliar situation of playing outdoors and in broad daylight), they had gained in terms of both mobility and communication, the triangular shape of the stage perfectly suited to their configuration. Drummer extraordinaire Jeff Eber, the powerhouse at the heart of Zevious’ sound, propelled the music along with a smile on his face, his stunning polyrhythms meshing with Johnny DeBlase’s muscular bottom end and the electric fireworks of Mike Eber’s guitar. All in all, it was an almost career-defining performance, and the festival’s finest hour as far as I am concerned.
After such a scintillating set, dinner break was upon us, giving the audience a much-needed respite and more opportunities for bonding before plates of tasty food. Then, at about 7.20 (almost right on schedule), Hamster Theatre begun their set, enthusiastically introduced by Steve Feigenbaum – who pointed out that the band had only performed three times on the East Coast since their inception, almost 20 years ago. Based in Colorado, the band shares three members with headliners Thinking Plague – multi-instrumentalist (and founder) Dave Willey, guitarist Mike Johnson and vocalist/reedist Mark Harris – so it is not surprising to hear similarities in their sounds, which share a highly eclectic bent. However, the foundation of Hamster Theatre’s music – mostly instrumental, unlike Thinking Plague’s – lies in folk, as the central role played by Dave Willey’s accordion shows quite clearly. Their set started in a rather subdued, almost soothing fashion, than things became gradually more complex, with jazzy touches creeping in, and then all of a sudden evoking reminiscences of Univers Zéro and their eerily mesmerizing brand chamber-prog. In spite of the problems caused by a dodgy guitar amp, the set flowed on smoothly, each instrument finely detailed, the sharpness of the guitar tempered by the wistful tone of the reeds and. Hamster Theatre’s music sounds big and often upbeat, with a strong Old World flavour and unexpectedly spiky moments. Even if my appreciation of their set was somewhat marred by the sleepiness that inevitably follows a meal (I am also much more of a morning than an evening person), I was impressed by the fine balance of eclecticism and discipline in the band’s music, and also by their warm, engaging stage manner, as befits seasoned performers. While, with the exception of bassist Brian McDougal, the band members performed sitting down, the lack of physical dynamics was amply compensated by the agile versatility of the music.
Highly awaited headliners Thinking Plague took the stage almost 20 minutes late on schedule because of soundcheck-related problems. They also had to contend with another emergency situation – the illness of singer Elaine DiFalco (who has been a member of the band for the past four years), who, however, soldiered on, dosing herself with aspirin in order to be able to perform (albeit in a limited capacity), and taking a bottle of water on stage with her in order to keep her vocal chords hydrated. As a teacher, I could relate to her plight quite well, and could not help admiring her mettle. Petite, with a striking, high-cheekboned face, Elaine possesses a surprisingly commanding stage presence, her husky, well-modulated voice oddly seductive though light years removed from the trite clichés that so many female singers feel obliged to follow. Before the festival, I had heard her on Dave Willey and Friends’ stunning Immeasurable Currents, and had been deeply impressed. Though I have some reservations on the way her haunting vocals fit into the multilayered texture of Thinking Plague’s music, I am sure the less than ideal conditions in which she performed contributed to my impression. Never the most prolific of outfits, they are releasing a new studio album (the first since 2003’s A History of Madness), titled Decline and Fall, in the early months of 2012, and the Orion set provided them with a great opportunity to showcase some of their new material, as well as some of their older compositions. Among the über-eclectic, intricate bulk of Thinking Plague’s output, there was also time for the humorously-introduced, never-played-before “The Fountain of All Tears”, a slow-burning ballad in 4/4 that very few would associate with one of the dreaded “Avant” bands. With legendary drummer Dave Kerman having relocated to Switzerland, the drum stool was occupied by Robin Chestnut, introduced by Mike Johnson as the only band member under 40; he also joked about Robin’s forthcoming Ph.D in Mathematics, which makes him the ideal drummer for a band like Thinking Plague. Keyboardist Kimara Sajn manned his rig with an unobtrusive but engaging mien, his delight in music-making obvious from his body language. I was barely acquainted with the band’s output before the festival, and their set encouraged me to delve into their back catalogue.
By way of a conclusion, I would like to stress that, as good as all of these bands are on CD, the live setting really makes their music come alive, and also gives them a more “human” dimension that helps debunk the myth of their brainy inaccessibility. For all their dedication to the production of challenging music, these are people who, first and foremost, enjoy what they do, and obviously love being on stage as much as any “mainstream” rock band.
All in all, it was a wonderful day of music and social interaction with like-minded people, and the perfect way to spend the third anniversary of my arrival in the US – even though my husband was unable to share it with me because of work commitments, which also prevented us from attending the festival’s Jazz Day. My sincerest thanks go to Steve, Joyce and their tireless team: though all of them were looking quite exhausted at the end of the day, their happiness and satisfaction was also palpable. The gorgeous (and delicious) layer cake served just before the Thinking Plague set was a very nice touch to celebrate the effort and care that had gone into the organization of the event. Kudos also to Mike Potter and his collaborators for the state-of-the-art sound quality of each performance, and also for getting the Orion premises in tip-top shape. Even if it will very probably remain a one-off, CuneiFest will be long remembered in the annals of the US progressive rock community as the very embodiment of the old “small is beautiful” adage.
» posted on Thursday, October 27th, 2011 at 11:46 am by itsakpopthing
1. Irreducible Complexity (3:39)
2. Manifest Density (3:45)
3. Save the Yuppie Breeding Grounds (4:07)
4. Disillusioned Avatar/Dub Interlude/Ephebus Amoebus (10:25)
5. Disoriental Suite (11:46):
b) Kan Hai De Re Zi
c) Views from Chicheng Precipice
6. Kuru (4:31)
7. The Okanogan Lobe (7:36)
8. Uncle Tang’s Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (3:44)
9. Blues for a Bruised Planet (4:35)
10. Waylaid (5:31)
11. Middlebräu (9:09)
Dennis Rea – guitar
Alicia DeJoie – violin
James DeJoie – baritone sax, flute, percussion
Kevin Millard – NS/Stick (8-string extended-range bass)
Stephen Cavit – drums, percussion
Two years after the release of their debut album, Manifest Density, Seattle-based quintet Moraine enjoy an impressive reputation as one of the most eclectic outfits on the modern progressive rock scene, purveyors of music that, while constantly dynamic and challenging, is never devoid of atmosphere and melody. In the months between the release of the album and their career-defining performance at NEARfest 2010, the band, led by veteran guitarist and composer Dennis Rea, underwent a lineup change, with the departure of cellist Ruth Davidson and drummer Jay Jaskot that determined a distinct shift in their sound.
For their sophomore effort – bearing the brilliant name of Metamorphic Rock, which, like the band’s own, reflects Dennis Rea’s passion for geology and mountaineering, as well as referring to the metamorphosis undergone by the band – Moraine have chosen a rather unconventional format. Though it is a live album, capturing their NEARfest set in crystal-clear detail, it focuses on new, unreleased material as much as on compositions originally featured on Manifest Density. The latter have been rearranged to accommodate the obvious differences in sound due to the presence of a baritone saxophone instead of a cello, their running time often extended as if to indulge the average prog fan’s preference for longer tracks.
With five members coming from very different musical backgrounds, Moraine are quite unlike conventional prog bands in being much less prone to reproduce their compositions verbatim when on stage, and thrive on freedom of improvisation. This diversity results in a headily eclectic direction, blending rock with jazz, funk, blues, world music and avant-garde, which however never descends into the sprawling “kitchen sink” approach adopted by many acts, with often debatable outcomes. Since its very beginning, Moraine has been a collaborative effort, with every member getting an opportunity to contribute to the songwriting – even if Dennis Rea gets the most credit on this album as a composer. As much as he is the band’s mouthpiece and most experienced member, even a cursory listen to either of Moraine’s albums will reveal a dense, tightly woven structure in which all instruments bring their own distinctive voice, and no one overwhelms the other.
The 11 tracks chosen for the band’s NEARfest set highlight their unique dynamics and the wide range of influences and ideas that characterize their compositional approach. Traces of their beginnings as a “chamber rock” outfit (or, as Rea puts it, a string quartet with drums) emerge occasionally throughout the set, but the definite rock turn taken by the band is hard to miss. In its three minutes, opener “Irreducible Complexity” effectively sums up the “new” Moraine: written by James DeJoie, it emphasizes how seamlessly the saxophone has become part of the whole, replacing the solemn drone of the cello with its more forceful tone, acting both as foundation (together with Stephen Cavit’s understated but subtly propulsive drumming and Kevin Millard’s versatile 8-string bass) and as a protagonist, in combination with the flowing, melodic strains of Alicia DeJoie’s violin and Rea’s clear, almost tinkling guitar.
Interestingly, the majority of Moraine’s compositions seem to make use of a leitmotiv device, a main theme, generally introduced right from the beginning, which crops up in different parts of a song, rendering it more memorable as well as more cohesive. This device is also explored by “Manifest Density”, with its catchy guitar-sax-violin riff, and the more angular “Kuru” – as well as newer material like the hauntingly majestic “The Okanogan Lobe”, and the forceful, slightly chaotic “Waylaid”. Like many of those RIO/Avant bands they have often been compared with, Moraine balance beautifully melodic, lyrical sections, dominated by Alicia DeJoie’s soaring violin, with others where a carefully controlled chaos seems to reign. “Uncle Tang’s Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” represents the band’s noisier side; while in the 10-minute medley of “Disillusioned Avatar/Dub Interlude/ Ephebus Amoebus”, all the different souls of Moraine are given a voice – from the gorgeously melancholy, violin-driven beginning – a masterpiece of careful atmosphere-building with its loose, rarefied texture – to the lazy reggae pace of the “dub interlude” (which allows the rhythm section to step into the limelight), finally climaxing with an effects-drenched, free-jazz workout.
Running at almost 12 minutes, the amusingly-named “Disoriental Suite”, based on Dennis Rea’s solo album Views from Chicheng Precipice illustrates Moraine’s more meditative side, opening with a gentle, lilting melody enhanced by James DeJoie’s flute, and culminating with a sparser, more experimental, violin-led section. As its title implies, the somber mood of “Blues for a Bruised Planet” – a fresh take on the old warhorse of the blues ballad – expressed by the mournful voice of the sax and reinforced by violin and guitar, stems from Dennis Rea’s deep concern with the sorry state of Planet Earth. My personal favourite from the band, the towering “Middlebräu”, closes the album with a bang, its funky intro followed by a short, snappy drum solo, and then culminating with the gorgeous, slow-motion coda in which the interplay between guitar and violin reaches unparalleled heights.
The sheer quality of the recording (mixed by legendary Seattle-based engineer Steve Fisk) and the brilliance of the individual performances more than compensates for the editing of Rea’s unassumingly witty on-stage banter – my only quibble about an otherwise outstanding album. As I pointed out in my review of the 2010 edition of NEARfest, Moraine were by far the most authentically progressive band on the bill. Moreover, their particular brand of “East-meets-West” is quite far removed from cheesy attempts at exoticism for its own sake, but rather motivated by genuine love and interest for different musical modes than ours. Needless to say, Metamorphic Rock is unlikely to be fully appreciated by symphonic prog traditionalists, especially those who object to the absence of keyboards, but it is otherwise highly recommended to all open-minded prog fans. Another contender for my personal Top 10 of 2011 – hoping for a third album some time in 2012.
» posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2011 at 10:41 pm by itsakpopthing
The Rock the Bells Tour performance at the Comcast Center, in Mansfield, Mass., scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10, has been rescheduled to Saturday, Sept. 24, concert organizers Live Nation announced in a statement Wednesday. Chang Weisberg, of Rock the Bells…
Projo Arts Blog
» posted on Friday, August 26th, 2011 at 1:48 am by itsakpopthing
Classic Rock is here to stay
The music business is a revolving door of art, where such a tough time can disappear overnight. However, Classic Rock, has hit us hard, and history has proven that he stay here. No other era of Rock n Roll ‘has produced such a wide and diverse individualism and Brawn has passed the test of time so that the Classic Rock Hits of the 70s DVD an icon in the period of industrial music. The DVD standard is still in the top percent of the sale of music, with the interests and honor rising every ten years.
While listening to music can be downloaded, there is nothing to see shows the raw energy of the original that you can back in time to better days. The Who, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin were the soundtrack of our lives in the seventies, and can still pack a powerful punch today. Classic DVD movies and concerts recap all the best and some of the rest, with interviews, on stage and studio clips of your favorite rock bands of the ’70s and solo artists.
Do you have a DVD collection of classic rock has become a race to the finish line for those who know to appreciate brilliant artistic published without limits. Create your DVD collection to the classical style, year of publication or just have a compilation of all your favorite hits. The DVD standard may increase heavy rare footage, call the one it’s last curtain call for people like The Doors, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. Rock CD represents only half of the experiment. The visual appearance is a must for anyone who admires and remembers the biggest sounds of the seventies classic rock get on DVD.
The more we take away from 1970, the most valuable of the sequence of live concert and documentary become vintage. There were a lot of beautiful music acts since the late 1970s, large but not a single genre has never disappeared. What inspired the 70 artists reach their peak, if it were politically or socially motivated, leaving their musical imprint a lasting mark on the mind and the soul of the audience. As now more popular than ever, we have just refuse to let go. And why should we? The era of classic rock to classic rock ever recorded on DVD series is for us to revive the recording again and again for inspiration.
» posted on Monday, August 22nd, 2011 at 9:00 pm by itsakpopthing
I’ve usually been a large enthusiast of the songs from the 1970s. The form of songs was just coming into its own, and a few with the bands from this a long time were really pioneers. They discovered new sound that blended components with the previous with ideas in the future, paving the way in which for many bands that arrived afterward.
To this day, there are nonetheless numerous bands who emulate the seems of the 3 that I am heading to mention here. Let us take a look at these bands who make my checklist.
First, there is The Band, who may be my preferred of those two. This was an very gifted group of musicians who started out because the backup group for Bob Dylan when he toured. This provides their songs somewhat of a country-ish really really really feel, which you’ll listen to on songs like the Excess excess weight, which achieved prevalent commercial success. There had been also many other fantastic songs that do not provide as a lot recognition.
The 2nd band that I’d like to point out here is ELO, which stands for Electrical Light Orchestra. This was a band led by the significantly gifted singer Jeff Lynne, who also penned most of their songs too. A few of their best hits include Residing Thing, which you make acknowledge from many soundtracks, such as the 1 for Boogie Nights. Then there is Roll More than Beethoven, which continues to be highlighted in movies and on tv commercials also.
Perhaps the tune that receives the most airplay nowadays is Mr. Blue Sky, also very well-liked in movies and on commercials. The reality that so a lot with the band’s songs is still played more than thirty years later on is a testament to how influential their songs was. The sounds of classic rock fused with area age digital sounds and symphonic classical music explain the sound of this band. They’re as fascinating as that seems.
» posted on Friday, July 22nd, 2011 at 9:41 am by itsakpopthing
Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys & Archive headline the main stage at this year’s Rock en Seine music festival but there are plenty of other great artists playing over the August Bank Holiday weekend that will make it a worthwhile trip to France.
CSS, Tinie Tempah, The Vaccines, Biffy Clyro, The LA’s, The Wombats, Seasick Steve & French pop band Sexy Sushi are among the many other artists I am looking forward to seeing. CSS are best known for their hit single ‘Let’s Make Love & Dance To Death From Above’ (Death From Above 1979 are also on the bill) while festival favourites The Vaccines, Biffy Clyro & The Wombats will play their lively, high-octane pop songs and no doubt get the crowds going.
I recently saw Tinie Tempah put on a great show at the Wireless Festival in London and I am also looking forward to seeing old timers Big Audio Dynamite and The LA’s for a big dose of nostalgia.
Rock en Seine music festival is situated in a northern suburb, 10km outside Paris and is on from Friday 26th August to Sunday 28th August.
If you are a fan or want to listen to more French music, Francophonik is a cool new service offering you the chance to win tickets and packages to French music gigs in the UK and festivals in France. Their latest competition is to win two tickets to Rock en Seine. All you have to do is visit the Francophonik Facebook page, become a fan, then apply for tickets by simply ticking a box.
» posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 at 9:34 am by itsakpopthing
Night’s highlights included performances by Brown, Wayne, Bey and Alicia Keys.
By Rob Markman
Chris Brown at the BET Awards on Sunday
Photo: Kevin Winter/ Getty Images
Music and Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars all came out to the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles for the 2011 BET Awards Sunday (June 26) night. Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Trey Songz, host Kevin Hart, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were all in attendance as BET celebrated the year in music.
The ceremony kicked off in royal fashion as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, took the stage wearing an all-white jumpsuit performing “Mary Jane (All Night Long)” and “You Bring Me Joy” from her 1994 My Life album. MJB didn’t stop there, bringing out Anita Baker so the two could sing Baker’s 1986 classic “Caught Up in the Rapture.”
Chris Brown came up big, winning the first award of the night, for Best Male R&B Artist, beating out the likes of Bruno Mars, Usher, Trey Songz and Cee Lo Green. The ever-controversial CB also took home an award for Best Collaboration for his Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes-assisted track “Look at Me Now.” It didn’t end there for Brown. After a snafu that had Rihanna and Drake being announced as the winners of BET’s Viewers’ Choice Award, it was later learned that Breezy was the intended recipient, making that his third win of the night. Brown also lit up the stage performing a string of his own hits and then again alongside Big Sean, who rapped his #1 rap single “My Last.”
Nicki Minaj was a shoo-in for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, and as expected she beat out Diamond, Lola Monroe and Master P’s daughter Cymphonique. Still, Minaj, who took the stage with her Young Money family, started her speech with, “Wow, I can’t believe I won.” The crowd laughed before she clarified her point and thanked Lil Wayne.
Alicia Keys shined as well, treating fans to a piano-laced set as she sang new single “Typewriter,” “A Woman’s Worth” with Bruno Mars and “Fallin’.”
Throughout the night, a number of BET-related trending topics popped up on Twitter. #betawards, Wiz & Amber and Mary Mary made the rounds on the social networking site during the night as well as #kelly after Kelly Rowland performed her single “Motivation” with Trey Songz. The ex-Destiny’s Child member received one of the loudest ovations of the night.
Duo Mary Mary won for Best Gospel Album, and Patti LaBelle received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by Gladys Knight. A potty-mouthed Cee Lo Green, Marsha Ambrosius and gospel’s Shirley Caesar all honored the soul singer by performing a medley of her hits before LaBelle took the stage herself.
Cali Swag District came out with Doug E. Fresh and memorialized slain CSD member M-Bone, while fallen artists like Clarence Clemons, Nate Dogg, Gil Scott-Heron and Teena Marie were honored with tribute performances by Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Queen Latifah and others.
As the show drew near a close, DJ Khaled, Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne took the stage to perform Khaled’s “I’m on One.” Rozay and Weezy had appeared earlier in the show alongside Ace Hood to rock Hood’s “Hustle Hard (Remix)” and returned, this time with Drizzy in tow.
Beyoncé closed things out with a performance from the Glastonbury festival in the U.K. Wearing a gold glittered top, with her legs on full display, B started things off with “Best Thing I Never Had” and then turned it up for a lively version of “End of Time,” both from her upcoming album, 4.
In the end, the 2011 BET Awards celebrated this year’s best in hip-hop, R&B and gospel as well as honoring living legends. It was definitely a night to remember.
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» posted on Friday, January 7th, 2011 at 10:39 am by itsakpopthing
Tickets are £16.50 and £9.50 for young people. A 60p Love Arts payment also applies to each seat sold. For further information or to book tickets call the Box Office on 01271 32 42 42 or visit http://www.northdevontheatres.org.uk/
» posted on Saturday, December 4th, 2010 at 3:14 am by itsakpopthing
I found Sorkun, a band played underground alternative rock Basque Country,.that’s awesome,.taste good!, check it now!..
» posted on Friday, August 6th, 2010 at 8:33 am by itsakpopthing
KRISTEN SCOTT was born in Texas, and raised in North Carolina. Every summer my Mom packed my three siblings and she into the car and drove. On the trips to California, Maine, Ohio, Michigan, and South Dakota we listened to Elvis, The Judds, Three Dog Night and Bread. Kristen enjoyed singing, but was not musically inclined until I was 18, when she taught herself how to play the guitar. Kristen took some of the poems that she had written, and put music to them. Two years later when she studied abroad in Italy, a friend took her to a recording studio for the first time. When she returned home to North Carolina, she recorded seven songs in Lenoir, NC with Lance Main. About a year later, she moved to Wilmington, NC, and played at multiple venues on the coast. Kristen love her country, she love her God, and she love the Catholic Church. Through her songs she desire to bring hope to others, especially those that have served to protect our country and our freedom.