The Music Box











This isn’t a post about a concert or a new musician or anything like that. I just wanted to take a moment to recognize the loss of one of a tremendously creative, original, talented life. Without even considering McQueen’s influence on the greater fashion world, the many artists that I admire that he dressed regularly, he was a tremendous style inspiration to my close personal friends as well as myself. I never met him or knew him, and now I never will, but I think that it’s always appropriate to recognize people that touched your life in some way, whether or not you were in their own lives.

The day before yesterday I went across town on my break to the Alexander McQueen New York flagship store on 14th street to leave some roses and a note. Twenty-four hours after the news was released, there was still a steady stream of people coming by just to take pictures, lay their own flowers, read other people’s notes, and just talk about McQueen. There were notes in many languages all expressing the same love and loss.

I took a few pictures of the flagship while I was there:

And through it all, she offers me protection A lot of love and affection Whether I'm right or wrong And down the waterfall, wherever it may take me I know that life won't break me And when I come to call, I know she won't forsake me



Utada Hikaru, known by her stage name Utada in Europe and the U.S.,  returned to the U.S. recently to play a few performances. Utada is one of Japan’s best-selling artists, and I felt as though it would be a wasted opportunity not to see her when she was in town. Famous for songs in both English and Japanese, she attracted a crowd rather unlike anything I had ever seen outside The Fillmore. I got to the venue as doors were opening at 7 p.m., and it wasn’t until a good bit after 8 that the end of the line was finally ushered through the doors into the venue.

The crowd was varied – a lot more diverse than the crowd I see at most other concerts in this country given by Japanese artists. Utada even commented on it during her performance. However, the crowd was also a very polite one, very friendly and not at all rude or violent.

I had heard Utada’s music before the show, and to be honest hadn’t been blown away by it. It was good pop to me, but nothing above and beyond much of what I heard from a lot of other Japanese pop performers. However, Utada’s got great charisma and presence up on the stage, and her voice is dead on. Especially in a venue like The Fillmore, where the slightest hint of a pitchy tone by the artist seems to get magnified a thousand fold, it’s important to be right on. And Utada was.

Making quips in between songs, she commented to the crowd that the people up front that had waited since 2 a.m. out in front of the venue were “so crazy!” and even gave a brief Japanese thank you to her fans that had come all the way across the world to see her. She also commented that she noticed that as soon as she finished any performance, there were already videos of it up on YouTube. Utada also asked that we tweet and type nice things about her. I would have done that anyway, but just for her: Utada, you were fantastic. You’ve made me a real fan. You are also a true classy lady, and I hope you come back to New York soon. We love you!

Anyway, the crowd had a tremendous time, and I even managed to snap a few pictures of my own before the security made me check my camera — no pictures were allowed! (Oops! They didn’t tell me at the door, but the great security member that led me down to the coat check apologized, saying by the time they got to my section of the line, they seemed to have stopped saying anything.)

Links
Official Website
Official MySpace

Here is Utada “in the flesh,” as it were:

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I find it hard to write an unbiased review of this show to be honest. If you know anything about me, you’ll know how big a fan of Lady Gaga I am, and how absolutely ecstatic I was to score a ticket to The Monster Ball at Radio City Music Hall last night. I had jitters before the concert; I haven’t felt that since I was about eighteen.

And, despite the recent health problems and regrettably canceled shows, Lady Gaga definitely gave the good time I was expecting. She’s such a petite young woman, but her personality and presence onstage are certainly bigger than life, and she has no problem filling up the large screens that play such a big part of her stage show.

But, before I wax ridiculous on Lady Gaga anymore, let me take a moment to express my pleasure at another young artist that opened for her. I’m sure most of you have heard the song Whatcha Say on your local radio station – that song that combines Imogen Heap and autotune and adds a whole lot of pop sensibility. It’s sung by the twenty-year old newcomer Jason Derülo, who has also taken part in The Monster Ball. I found him very likable and entertaining. The sincerity with which he said “Thank you so much” between each song when he received a good reception was positively endearing. I also ran into him on the street outside Radio City before doors opened and he was so incredibly polite and soft-spoken.

The first opening act was Semi Precious Weapons. I think that the band was the perfect way to start the night and get everyone paying attention – or at least talking. Loud, proud and incredibly vulgarly blunt, Justin woke the audience up right as they walked into Radio City. He provided a healthy dose of profanity, sexuality, nudity, and alcohol consumption. Which is, quite possibly, everything a good Little Monster (as Lady Gaga’s fans are called) expects from a concert.

Sadly, there are only a few dates left to catch The Monster Ball. I’m sure they’ll all be back on the road fairly soon, however, so go out and catch them if you can!

Lady Gaga’s Setlist
01. Dance in the Dark
02. Just Dance
03. Love Game
04. Alejandro
05. Monster
06. Teeth
07. Speechless
08. MC -interlude- (Pokerface acoustic)
09. The Fame
10. Money Honey
11. Beautiful, Dirty, Rich
12. Boys, Boys, Boys
13. Pokerface
14. Paparazzi
15. Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)
16. Bad Romance

Links:
Semi Precious Weapons Official Website
Jason Derülo Official Website
Lady Gaga Official Website

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The last of the shows I saw while I was abroad. I was hesitant to post these because I didn’t get tremendously good pictures, but here are some of the better ones.

Here is the synopsis of the play:

The prince of Salzburg, the employer and protector of Mozart, dies and the Archbishop Colloredo succeeds him. But the new head of Salzburg is an austere authoritarian that hates Mozart and his music. [song: Penser l’Impossible]  Léopold, Mozart’s father, decides to send his son out to conquer Europe, accompanied by his mother.

On the Munich scene, Mozart goes to a tavern where the customers make fun of him and his passion for music. [song: Le trublion] At Mannheim, Mozart meets the Weber sisters. Hypnotized by the voice and the beauty of Aloysia [song: Bim bam boum], he pays little attention to her younger sister Constance, who will later become his wife. But the composer’s sentiments for Aloysia are not returned. Mozart and his mother leave Mannheim to go to Paris. [song: Tatoue-moi] But the Paris scene will be the most cruel of this long and exhausting journal. Mozart suffers failures and humiliations and finally must bury his mother, taken by illness, in the most miserable conditions. Moreover, he learns that Aloysia is about to marry the man she loves.

Upon returning to Salzburg, Mozart encounters boredom day after day following the death of the Empress of Austria. Colloredo, the prince-archbishop of Salzburg, must go to Vienna in order to pay homage to the new emperor Joseph II. He brings with him luggage, servants and… Mozart. Exhausted by the Colloredo’s endless bullying, Mozart resigns and finds himself free in Vienna. He learns that the Weber family is in town and goes to their house for shelter. Aloysia lives off with her husband, and Mozart is finally ready to pay attention to her sister, the beautiful and sensual Constance. [song: Si je défaille] He marries the young girl against the advice of his father [song: Les solos sous les draps] and at the same time writes his first German opera that will command great popular success. But the meteoric rise of Mozart creates much jealousy. Salieri, the court composer, becomes his main rival [song: L’assassymphonie]: he has great admiration for Mozart’s music, but hates his personality. [song: Le bien qui fait mal]

Terrible news will finally sound the death knell for Mozart’s happiness. A letter from Nannerl informs him that his father is about to die. [song: Dors mon ange] Mozart feels guilty and becomes obsessed with his father’s image. Present in the form of the commander in his new opera “Don Giovanni” [song: Quand le rideau tombe], he is also seen as the mysterious stranger who commissioned “Requiem.”

Bit by bit, Mozart loses the favor of the Viennese public and sadly sinks into sickness and poverty at the same time that Salieri, himself, is at the peak of his glory. [song: Victime de ma victoire] But for Salieri the victory is bitter. Full of remorse, he is reproached by Mozart and Constance for offering aid. [song: Vivre à en crever] Mozart enters the pantheon of Eternity still leaving his Requiem unfinished and his last opera “The Magic Flute” brings him once and for all success and recognition.

(taken and translated from the Mozart soundtrack pamphlet)

I would definitely recommend all those who enjoyed the American musical “Rent” to check this out. Also, if you like guys in eyeliner and pink sequin jackets definitely look into it. They’ve been taking down their videos on YouTube for copyright, but check out “Vivre à en crever” from their MySpace here. You can see other videos at their MySpace channel.

(n.b.: I also updated my up-coming concert schedule. Open to change on a whim, as always.)

Links
Official Website
Official MySpace
Official Forum
Official Blog
Official Skyblog
Official Facebook



{24 December, 2009}   Panik at Knust (2009.12.10)

Today Panik has released their last song as Panik. You can find it over on their Official Website with a free download. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to go ahead and post my pictures from the Panik concert at Knust.

To be honest, although I had friends that were big fans of the band, I had never really looked into them. When we heard that their last live in Germany was going to be in Hamburg while my friend Felicity and I were going to be there, we both bought tickets in a second.

The show was brilliant to be honest. The energy of the crowd, the band’s energy: it all made me really sorry that it had taken until their last concert as Panik to give them a shot. They’re dynamic performers and I really do like their music; and they seem so connected and appreciative of their fans. They’ve been riddled with bad luck as a band, both forcing them to first change their name a while back, and now finally go their separate ways. David and Timo are going to continue making music, however, so I hope everyone that loves them will follow their solo projects.

Their fans seem to be great girls and guys for the most part too. There were those that started a crazy mosh pit, and the others that stood off to the side where I was that just seemed to enjoy having fun and rocking out at a concert.

I wish all of the guys good luck in their future projects, and that no matter where the road takes them, they keep rocking out and rocking hard.



I have returned from my international wandering and concert extravaganza! The shows I saw while I was in Germany and France were fantastic, and I’ll try to give each one their due here. Thank you to everyone that read my interview with Space Cowboy, and thank you to everyone that’s still here with me.

The first concert I’ll be posting pictures from is the Samy Deluxe concert that was at Kampnagel in Hamburg, Germany on 06 December. This was the tour final of the Dis wo ich herkomm Teil 2 (Part 2) Tour, and for the final, Samy came home to Hamburg.

For those that were distressed by the loss of Samy’s cornrows, never fear, they’re back. He’s also man enough to hit the stage and rap in a collared shirt with a blazer.

The show was an utter blast. I had no idea what to expect from the crowd; honestly I was a little apprehensive since I wasn’t sure exactly how “hardcore” German rap concerts got, and I’m a rather skinny, poorly protected girl. But everyone there was completely cool, and honestly I think I’ve seen rougher kids at a Jonas Brothers concert. People genuinely seemed to be there to enjoy the music and have a good time. And to smoke and drink a few beers, which made them even more “my kind of people.”

Samy and the whole Deluxe Records crew gave off such positive energy, and instead of the angry, resentful, violent messages and emotions you get from so many rap performers in the U.S., they genuinely seemed to embrace a message of camaraderie, love and just having a great time. Included in the performance was a brass session and a four-piece string section, along with backup singers that seemed to spend as much time dancing around to Samy’s beats as they did singing. Everyone up on stage seemed to have as much fun as the people down in the crowd.

To be honest, the opening performer was unmemorable. The crowd seemed to enjoy him, and supported him fully, but when Samy took the stage, the energy really started flowing. He performed new songs, old songs, songs from his collaborations. My highlight of the night was when he did a few old songs from his Dynamite Deluxe unit, one of which was Weiter, which still may be one of my absolute favorite songs by him. Another highlight was that Samy not only treated us to three – count them: three – encores, he also did a freestyle. It was the last night of the tour, and Samy absolutely made sure it was a night to remember.

Links
Samy Deluxe Official MySpace
Deluxe Records Official Website



{10 December, 2009}   Interview with Space Cowboy

Thank you so, so much to Space Cowboy, as well as Martin and Andrea for setting this up, and to Chantelle Paige of course.

Space Cowboy is a DJ, producer and singer born in France and raised in the UK. He began his career using the name DJ Supreme, and has had multiple top tracks and remixes in Europe, the US and Japan. In 2008, Space Cowboy became Lady Gaga’s personal DJ, and worked with her on a number of songs. His latest album Digital Rock Star was released October 26, 2009, and he’s currently part of LMFAO’s Party Rock Tour.

Space Cowboy Official Website
Space Cowboy MySpace

01. Have you seen any major notable differences between the British and American electronic/dance scene? Do you feel as though you had to significantly adapt your own style in the crossover?
the first thing i noticed when i began touring in the US with Lady Gaga at the beginning was that David Guetta and the Kid Cudi remix day and night and Timbaland the way i are were the first songs i heard that were electronic, in the top40 clubs and gradually that began to change, as Gaga got more and more popular and then exploded, and i think her Just Dance and Pokerface blew the doors open for that sound, in no small part assisted by Swedish style producer Red One, so i dont feel i’ve had to adapt, as i’ve been sooper lucky to be part of the movement.

02. How do you approach remixing a song? What do you think makes a “good” remix?
a good song in the first place helps, having said that, sometimes a remix is better than the original, but that is rare.a good song is a good song.

03. Do you prefer DJing in clubs or singing/performing onstage?
spinning and performing are from the same animal, rocking the crowd is the idea, so i like them both, though im more experienced in spinning, its second nature, and performing is about crowd interaction and more dramatic, whereas spinning you just have to set the mood right

04. How do you feel when other artists mix your own songs? Do you usually like the remixes?
usually, i like to be blown away though by fresh plug ins, up to date or beyond he up to date, im a dj, so i am constantly listening to fresh productions, looking on the blogs etc, so i expect nothing but the freshest.

05. If you could work with one artist you haven’t had the chance to work with yet, who would it be?
Lil Wayne, Kings Of Leon, The Killers,and please somebody wake Amy Winehouse up!!!!!

06. How did you like being a part of the Party Rock Tour? Do you prefer large collaborative tours?
Love it, its a biiig party animal family and everyone is very respectful of each others art, and every night im watching each artists’ show, everyone has their own swag and way of performing, its a joy and a lesson all in one to watch!

07. I know you were both on Cherrytree / Interscope at the time, but how did you wind up meeting and linking up with Lady Gaga?
Through Martin Kierszenbaum, head of Cherrytree and Cherry Cherry Boom Boom!he was talking crazy about this girl he was working with from NYC and said we haaad to meet as he knew we would get along…we met in LA and Boooom!

08. Clubs can be pretty insane: what’s the craziest thing you’ve seen someone do out on the floor while you were spinning? How did you react? Where (country or city or club) have you had the craziest experiences?
its always going off!i love to party, and love party animals!!ive seen some crazy stuff,but its all in good spirits and fun!obviously your talking girls and boys or girls who like girls who like boys etc etc, so all manner of japes happen on the floor!wna as long as its all safe, why not!

09. Your style has evolved so much over the past several years: do you have any long term plans in regards to your music/career?
to keep producing and writing and doing what i love fro as long as God or whoever has givien me my passion for music, its a bleeing to be able to do what you love.its a blessing to be working actually in the current climate, but you know, got to keep it moving!

10. What’s your first vivid memory of music in your life?
Watching graffiti ad Hip Hop for the first time, i didnt even like music until i was 9 years old, and i was at a friends house after school and his brother had these turnatables and all of a sudden i heard his scratching and this crazy American guys talking over 808s and i was like hooooold on!!what the hell is this music, and after that i fell in love with Hip Hop, like a total light bulb lit up over my head!!



The down side of relying on public transportation: although I went to see the LMFAO Party Rock Tour, obviously featuring LMFAO, I had to leave right after Schwayze’s set to catch the last train back to New York and therefore missed LMFAO themselves. Nonetheless, it was an interesting and very entertaining show.

Since I’m not going to be in the country for the New York leg of the tour, my friend Kirstie and I traveled to Toad’s Place, a little venue in New Haven, Connecticut, right on the Yale University campus. It’s a tiny, relaxed place with a university feel to it; to be honest, I don’t think the people that worked there were at all prepared for the level of craziness that was going to take over with the arrival of the Party Rock Tour.

No, honestly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many tiny sequin tube tops and empty frame glasses in one night. The crowd had so much energy and excitement, and LMFAO fans are insane in the best possible way. By the time the doors opened, the line stretched all around the building and out back, and entrance was mild chaos. There was a DJ out spinning between sets, everything from Lady Gaga to Miley Cyrus to New Kidz and David Guetta.

It seems as though LMFAO took all of their closest Interscope / Cherrytree Records friends on the tour with them: the show opened with a set by UK DJ Space Cowboy, who was eventually joined by the lovely Chantelle Paige for a few songs. I’m probably biased because I already adored both of them as well as their music, but their set was my favorite of the night, although it was a bit short. Space Cowboy is a wonderful performer, and Chantelle Paige is just beautiful and has terrific charisma up on stage.

After Space Cowboy and Chantelle Paige warmed the crowd up, the Paradiso Girls, another Cherrytree act consisting of members from the U.S., France, the UK, Barbados, and the Philippines, came onstage to raise the sexiness up another level or two. If you like the Pussycat Dolls, you definitely have to check these young ladies out.

Following the Paradiso Girls comes the Far East Movement, who you will have seen a lot from and about if you follow MTV Iggy. I’ve seen their name so much in the past couple of months, but had never had the time to check them out, so it was great to finally see them. They’re a California-based rap and hip-hop group that put together the first multicultural live event down in Koreatown, Los Angeles.

By this time the crowd was an excited, sweating, somewhat inebriated mess, but the show still wasn’t close to finished. The Far East Movement introduced the next performer, Schwayze, who was sadly the last performer I would see the night. Kirstie and I ran out about halfway through the last song of his set to catch a cab back to the train station.

Despite missing the title act of the Party Rock Tour, it was a great experience, and if you have a chance to check out the remaining shows on the tour, definitely take the opportunity. And pick up a pair of Party Rock glasses!
Remaining tour dates:
12/04/09 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
12/06/09 Farmingdale, NY @ Crazy Donkey
12/08/09 Richmond, VA @ The National
12/09/09 Norfolk, VA @ The Norva
12/10/09 Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
12/11/09 Myrtle Beach, SC @ House of Blues
12/14/09 Orlando, FL @ Firestone
12/17/09 Houston, TX @ House of Blues
12/18/09 Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
12/19/09 San Antonio, TX @ The White Rabbit
12/20/09 McAllen, TX @ Las Palmas Event Center
More information about ticket purchases and all acts at partyrocktour.com!



{2 December, 2009}   Coming up:

3 December: LMFAO Party Rock Tour with Space Cowboy, Far East Movement, Chantelle Paige, Paradiso Girls (New Haven, New Jersey)

6 December: Samy Deluxe (Hamburg, Germany)

10 December: Panik (Hamburg, Germany)

12 December: Mozart L’Opera Rock (Paris, France)



Okay, to start off my camera is officially dead. Which means that even though you can find two blurry cameraphone pictures that I tweeted last night over on my TwitPic, I’m not going to bother you with them here. I tried to turn it on at the show last night though and it beeped at me a lot and then just kind of … stopped functioning entirely. If someone wants to buy me a really late or really early Christmas present, that would be wonderful.

Last night was the first Dir en grey show I’ve been to in two years. I honestly haven’t been feeling their newer music (MARROW OF A BONE and UROBOROS were less than thrilling in my own opinion), so I’ve skipped out on their last few U.S. tours. However, they were doing three gigs in New York and people that I’ve known through the Internet for years, but still had never met in person were flying in for the week, so I decided to go to their last show down at The Gramercy Theatre last night.

The opening act for Dir en grey was a band called Suicide City. They were pretty cool, actually. They added me on MySpace a while back, but I had never seen them live before. Most of the other hardcore Dir en grey live show attendees seemed to know them too, so I take it they’re regular New York Dir en grey openers. They had great energy, and did a great job warming up the crowd for Dir en grey.

Dir en grey though – their concerts are still amazing. Even though I didn’t know any of their new music, I still had a great time at the show. To be honest I feel as though they were missing something that they used to have a few years ago, but they still just put so much into every song, and seem to have such a great time up there! They were smiling for most of the show, which was just great to see.

I was in a minidress and high-heeled boots, so I didn’t venture too far into the pit, but I left my usual concert post by the bar and went in for a bit to headbang and rock out with some of my friends.  It’s almost impossible not to just let go and kiss a stranger or headbang or just let loose a little at one of their concerts. I think that may be why their shows appeal to so many young people.

They also did a signing and meet & greet after the show – after all of the shows, actually – which I think is really great. I didn’t stick around, since to be honest it’s not really my “thing,” but such a level of accessibility from a band that sells out so many of their shows, and from a group of guys that are really so private, is wonderful to see.

Setlist
01. Sa Bir
02. Obscure
03. Merciless Cult
04. Red Soil
05. Stuck Man
06. Agitated Screams of Maggots
07. Repetition of Hatred
08. The Deeper Vileness
09. Bugaboo
10. Toguro
11. Glass Skin
12. Inconvenient Ideal
13. Vinushka
14. Dozing Green
15. Reiketsu Nariseba

ENCORE
16. Amber
17. Kodou
18. Ugly
19. Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koto

NOTE: Please correct the setlist if there are any mistakes. I honestly snagged this off of setlist.fm since I was too busy having fun to record the setlist. And as I mentioned, I’m not familiar with their newer work, so I stopped trying after a while.

Links
Suicide City’s Official Website
Suicide City’s Official MySpace
Dir en grey’s Official Website
Dir en grey’s Official MySpace



{8 November, 2009}   New Look

I updated the format of this blog. I think this is easier to read (I hope). I also updated the “About” and changed things around a little.

In terms of concerts coming up that I’ll be writing about, I only have two definite shows lined up so far:
2009.11.14 – Dir en grey @ The Gramercy Theatre (New York, U.S.A.)
2009.12.06 – Samy Deluxe & Tsunami Band Live @ Kampnagel K6 (Hamburg, Germany)

And have a Sunday video from one of my favorite  Japanese women, speaking of “New Look.” Happy Sunday!

 

 

Edit on 12 Nov.: More events added, along with an events page!

 

 



This past week Noah and the Whale was in New York to both premiere First Days of Spring, a film to accompany their second album, and to play three nights at the Mercury Lounge down on Houston. I had the chance to go see them on 03 November for one of these gigs, with so, so, so much thanks to Cherrytree Records.

I had never been to The Mercury Lounge, but I fell in love with it. It’s small with two rows of couches on either side. When it’s empty, it’s such an intimate venue, and when it’s packed you can’t breathe or move, but it still never feels too big or overbearing.

The opening act was Essie Jain, an incredibly charming young woman from England. She and her band are getting ready to put out a lullaby CD, and after hearing her voice for ten seconds, you can understand why it would be perfect. I actually would love to buy the CD when it eventually comes out. I don’t actually know her music that well, but I made a stab at the setlist. Please correct me if I’m wrong:

Setlist
01. Up Until Then
02. The Truth
04. Afraid of the Dark
05. Stand in the Light
05. Love for You
06. Haze
07. ??? (Second Chance?)
08. Stop
09. ??? (Fall Into Sleep?)

During Robert Francis’ set, I actually left the stage area to find Andrea from Cherrytree Records to say “hi” and thank her. I caught a bit of the set, and it didn’t capture me the same way Essie Jain did. It felt to me as though he tried a little too hard to be emotional and artistic, if that makes sense. He does make good music, though, and no offense intended towards him.

John Norris of MTV was also at the show on Tuesday! I grew up watching him on MTV News, so I was a little stupidly giddy when he was pointed out to me. When we went back into the stage area for Noah and the Whale I wound up right next to him.

Noah and the Whale, though. I didn’t know too much about them going in other than really liking the few songs of theirs that I had heard, and knowing that the poor guys had their equipment stolen in England recently. Seeing them live is an experience, though. They’re one of those bands that you just close your eyes while they’re playing and just lose track of where you are, and what time it is. Charlie Fink is also a remarkably charming performer. He didn’t speak much during the set, excepting to apologize awkwardly into the microphone for, in fact, not speaking. He said he had nothing to say, so other than occasionally giving the name of a song or a brief explanation, he stayed with the music.

As a brief anecdote, the Mercury Lounge doesn’t have a “backstage.” The artists just step up from the back of the venue and walk up onto the stage. Noah and the Whale reached the end of their regular setlist, at which point Fink said (paraphrasing my own), “Now after this song, we’re supposed to go off and hide for a minute and thirty seconds, pretending it’s the end of the set. Then we come out again and play the encore. We don’t have anywhere to hide, so we’re just going to keep playing. But please, pretend this is the last song.”

Setlist
01. Blue Skies
02. Our Window
03. Give A little Love
04. Slow Glass
05. Jocasta
06. Give me the Love of an Orchestra
07. Rocks And Daggers
08. Stranger
09. I Have Nothing
10. My Door Is Always Open
13. The Shape of My Heart
14. You Were Always On My Mind (Elvis Cover)
15. My Broken Heart

Links
Essie Jain on MySpace
Robert Francis Official Website
Robert Francis on MySpace
Noah and the Whale Official Website
Noah and the Whale on MySpace
Cherrytree Records

I brought my actual digital camera this time. But you know what would be really cool? A digital camera that didn’t turn itself off at random that wasn’t ten years old and halfway broken. Yes. That would be awesome.

The Stage
Stage at the Mercury Lounge

Essie Jain
Essie Jain Setting UpEssie JainEssie JainEssie Jain's trumpet playerThe Crowd After Essie Jain

Setting up for Robert Francis/Robert Francis
Warming up for Robert FrancisRobert FrancisRobert Francis
Robert Francis

Noah and the Whale

Noah and the WhaleNoah and the Whale



I think that it’s time to turn this into more of a concert blog than anything. I go to way too many concerts lately.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was able to go to the Emilie Autumn concert I mentioned in another post. It was incredibly fun; definitely worth the few years I’ve waited for Emilie to finally come (back) to this country.

Emilie Autumn is a singer, violinist, harpsichord player, poet, and writer. I usually describe her style to people as neo-Victorian gothic electronica if they really want to know, but typically when I start adding that many descriptors to a genre, I just leave it alone and let it speak for itself. Her stage show is a combination concert, burlesque show with a touch of circus thrown in.

Her backup band is known as The Bloody Crumpets, and between songs are skits and kissing games and even a fan dance. During songs The Bloody Crumpets occasionally come out and perform acrobatics over and among the audience on hoops and sheets. Each member of The Bloody Crumpets has her own “identity” in the Asylum – Veronica is the sexy nymphomaniac, Aprella the sweet maiden, Captain Maggot the deranged pirate captain (though I found her quite adorable), while Contessa is the proper lady.

It’s certainly a spectacle, and Emilie is incredibly charismatic (and sexy). The show is raunchy and inappropriate, but that’s certainly the point: Emilie finished the show with a striptease, and as I said on my Twitter, “After the vocalist is naked…it’s pretty much time to go.” The Rat Game, which ends in two girls kissing rather passionately, was fairly worrisome to me given the recent problems with seasonal flu as well as H!N1, but hey. Whatever floats your boat.

Setlist
1. Intro/4 O’Clock
2. Opheliac
3. Liar
4. The Art of Suicide
5. I Want My Innocence Back
6. Shalott
8. God Help Me
9. Dead Is The New Alive
10. I Know Where You Sleep
11. 306
12. Misery Loves Company
13. Face The Wall (Emilie Violin Solo)
14. Mad Girl
15. Bohemian Rhapsody

ENCORE
Bohemian Rhapsody
Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

Links
The Asylum: Official Website
Emilie Autumn Official MySpace

I hope that Dean (follow him on Twitter @dean_b, by the way) will forgive this last round of bad pictures. I didn’t have a new battery for my eight-year old digital camera yet, so I was still using the cell phone.
Better pictures can be found here thanks to knightmare6. I just feel odd posting someone else’s pictures on my own entry.

Captian Maggot on her hoop

Captian Maggot's Hoot 2

Maggot Hoop 3

Emilie and Contessa

Stilts

Swallowing Fire

Emilie on her violin

Contessa Sheet Dance



Last night I had the opportunity to go to La Roux’s sold out show at Highline Ballroom!

La Roux is an English electropop duo comprised of Eleanor Jackson and Ben Langmaid. You quite likely have heard their song Bulletproof: it was actually iTunes Free Single of the Week a few weeks ago.

Anyway, the show was packed, but the crowd was incredible. The opening band was called Body Language, and they’re Brooklyn Natives if you’re interested in checking them out. They were really good: of the same electropop ilk as La Roux. They played for about forty minutes, and then they started setting the stage for La Roux.

Eleanor Jackson has been ill for a while, and it’s concentrated mostly in her lungs which obviously makes the fact that she’s singing through it rather incredible. She’s had to cancel a few of La Roux’s gigs, but they went on last night. She said that it was an abbreviated setlist and apologized profusely. Meanwhile, her set is apparently usually forty-five minutes, but last night was close to forty. How abbreviated!

She was a complete trooper and sounded absolutely wonderful though, and thank you to Cherrytree Records for bringing her over and allowing me to see her live. I can’t wait for her to come back in February.

Setlist
01. Tigerlilly
02. Quicksand
03. Finally My Saviour
04. Cover My Eyes
05. Colourless Colour
06. I’m Not Your Toy
07. Fascination
08. In For The Kill
09. Bulletproof

Links:
Official Site
La Roux on MySpace
Polydor Records (UK)
Cherrytree Records (US)
Body Language on MySpace

These aren’t the best pictures in the world, but next time I’m at a show, I promise to remember to bring my digi. I only had my cell phone, since I’ve been without digicam for so long.
Click for full-size. Or, well, rescaled full-size, since I resized them, since I didn’t think there was much point in bigger if it would just be blurrier.

Outside:
Line outside Highland Ballroom

Opening Band (Body Language):
Opening Act: Body Language

Opening Act: Body Language

La Roux:
Setting Up the Stage for La Roux

La Roux's setlist below the electronic drumpad

It's La Roux!

La Roux

Getting Water

I was close



{20 September, 2009}   Slavi Trifonov & Nevena Tsoneva

Ugh, my wireless connection hates me. I’m stealing internet from my mom’s old DSL line until the wireless stops being so finicky.

Anyway, welcome to another week. I remember about a year and a half ago I made a post about Silbermond over on my other LiveJournal, and got into a conversation with one girl about…I don’t even know how it came about, to be honest. But somehow we got into a discussion of trying to sample music from all over the world, and she mentioned this CD that her friend had picked up in Bulgaria. So I asked her to send me a sample or two – it turned out to be from Slavi Trifonov’s album Slavi.

Slavi Trifonov is a Bulgarian showman, actor, singer, and viola player, and he’s experimented with basically every kind of music. He hosts shows in Bulgaria and is basically the man over there it would seem.

The whole album Slavi is really quite catchy. I admit it might not be for anyone, but I love this song by him and the Bulgarian Idol winner Nevena Tsoneva.  Feel free to giggle at the video a bit though. I know I did…



{14 September, 2009}   Miyavi

For some reason, I really wanted to go to Japan with this post. Maybe it’s because it’s the music scene I’m most comfortable with and it felt weird not having a post with a Japanese artist yet, I’m not sure. I was considering entirely different musicians though, to be honest. Then I logged onto Twitter and saw all the early birthday greetings and realized that this was the perfect musician to cover in this post. The artist I’m covering turns twenty-eight tomorrow – technically today in Japan.

Miyavi started out at the age of 18 in the visual kei band Dué le quartz with the stage name “Miyabi,” which means elegance. In typical visual kei fashion, his clothing and presentation straddled the line between masculine and feminine, and he definitely has more photographs from that era in skirts than he does in pants. After the band dissolved, he set out on his own, changing his name to Miyavi. His music and visual style changed significantly, and it took a very experimental almost punk turn. His indie albums Gagaku and Galyuu are definitely my favorites.

He signed with PS Company and eventually Universal Music Group in 2004, and his first major album was called Miyavizm. Many releases later, his appearance and musical style have changed considerably.  In 2007 Miyavi made his U.S. debut, and joined the Japanese superband S.K.I.N (Gackt, Yoshiki, Sugizo, and Miyavi).

Since then, he’s come back to the U.S. sporadically, as well as touring in Europe. In March of this year, he married the Japanese singer Melody, and in July their daughter Lovelie Miyavi Ishihara was born.

Now with that very brief background, enjoy his song Selfish Love. I love his guitar work in this song.



{6 September, 2009}   Infected Mushroom

This is for the trance fan in all of us. I’ll admit I’m getting more and more into trance music, but don’t really have anyone to show me the ropes. I first heard Infected Mushroom at a party my friends at college were throwing. The name stuck with me when I asked what the music was, and then I looked it up when I got back to my room. I actually played Vicious Delicious in the car for my mom the other day and she called it “disco.” Hahaha.

I also just noticed they’re playing at Terminal 5 in NY in October, so I will most definitely be going.

If you think this video rocks as much as I think it does (you should hear the eight minute version of the song) and want to learn more:

Official Website
MySpace



I wanted to start by giving a huge “thank you” to Martin Kierszenbaum for letting me send him questions.

You all probably at least know of Martin from his work with t.A.T.u as well as his diligent work with all of the artists on Cherrytree Records. He is also head of A&R at Interscope Records, and has worked with Sting, Keane, Feist, Ai, Colby O’Donis, and many other artists internationally. He is Cherry Cherry Boom Boom.

He is incredibly accessible, always on Cherrytree’s Twitter, and often popping into the chatroom over on Cherrytree’s website.

And enough of me babbling: his name is all over if you want to learn more on your own. On to the questions:

1. What are your earliest memories of music in your life, and how early did it become such a major component of who you are?

I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. I started taking piano lessons at 8 years old and became very interested in writing music and what I call the language of music theory. I was pretty much obsessed with the process of making music and began spending more and more time on it to the point where it probably kept me out of a lot of trouble in high school and college. To this day, making music, talking about music and listening to music is when I’m the happiest.

2. You’ve seen so many people walk through the Cherrytree and Interscope doors: do you see any major differences – personality, attitude, anything – between young artists that started out when you first came into the business and the artists we see today?

There isn’t necessarily a major difference in the level of quality, determination or passion. Those elements are quite constant with truly talented folks no matter the era. Where I do see a difference is in the access to and availability of information. Thanks to the interconnectivity of today’s world, talented artists can be more empowered, informed and aware. Modern technology also allows more talented artists to be exposed, no matter where they come from. I see that as a beautiful thing.

3. Do you have a favorite music or artist-related story to tell?

I’m fortunate enough to have worked with many very special and talented artists. It would be hard to pinpoint just one experience. Someone extraordinary from whom I’ve had the privilege to learn tons is Sting. He’s been like a big brother to me in his kindness and support. I do remember meeting him for the first time many years ago. I was doing international publicity for his Soul Cages project and had traveled to Atlanta to supervise an interview with a Dutch publication. I was in the glorious Fox Theater in Atlanta thinking about having started work for A&M records only the week before. I went backstage to greet Sting and take him to the interview room backstage. We both got in the elevator there – an old one where you have to open the screen door manually when you arrive at your floor. In the elevator, Sting was holding a plate, trying to squeeze in his supper before doing the interview and playing the show. When we got to the floor and the elevator stopped, I spaced and didn’t open the screen (And, Sting couldn’t do it because his hands were holding the plate). So, the elevator automatically went back down to our original floor. Sting looked at me and uttered the first words he ever said to me: “you f’cked up.” I’ll never forget it; quite an auspicious first impression really. 18 years and lots of adventures together later, I’m proud to say that Sting now records on my imprint.

4. How do you think the heavy digitization of music and voice is affecting the technique and technical skill of young artists today, if at all? Where do you think it will take music?

There have always been technological advancements in making music. Did the piano forte affect the technique and output at the time? Surely. I think that making great music requires musical talent, originality and skill. That hasn’t changed. It’s not easier to make great music. It’s just different.

5. You’ve met so many amazing, influential people, have you ever been starstruck? With whom?

I’m still very impressed when I meet a musician that I really admire. I mean, for me, great musicians are heroes. Music is important to me so, yes, I get excited. It’s not to the point where it interferes with doing my job, but I embrace that feeling of excitement. It’s fun and brings me joy.

6. Which artist that you’ve worked with has been, in your opinion, the hardest to market to the American scene, regardless of musical skill? What do you think made it so hard to get people to catch on?

Anybody making maverick music and pushing the creative envelope is going to be met with some resistance at first. I’d say I may have made it a little harder for myself when I started trying to break artists across borders just because it wasn’t that prevalent a concept at the time. But, as with anything that’s unique and of great quality, it will eventually succeed and reach its audience. Growing up, my dad always told me “cream rises to the top.” That idea continues to inspire me to this day – even in the face of the toughest obstacles.

7. What do you think is your “most played” song of all time?

You mean my favorite song? Or a song with which I’ve been involved? It’s tough to pick a favorite song but my top 10 list would probably include “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” by Dionne Warwick, “Appetite” by Prefab Sprout and “1999” by Prince. In terms of my own songs, I’m proud of having co-written “All the Things She Said” by t.A.T.u. which was no. 1 for 4 weeks in a row in the UK. I think “Happy Birthday” by Flipsyde was special and I really like “Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)” by Lady Gaga which recently reached no. 2 in Sweden.

8. Cherrytree seems to have such an international assortment of artists – was that your intention from the beginning and why, or how did it come about?

My intention is to not let geographic location limit us. I moved all over the world when I grew up – lived in 3 continents. The prospect of seeking out talented artists across borders and cultures isn’t daunting to me at all. Doing so widens my net in terms of finding exciting artists. It’s not that I purposely search for international acts. It’s just that I don’t have an aversion to getting up at 3am to make a call or traveling 18 hours in search of great music. I’m excited to find talented people and help them get their music exposed no matter where they are in the world.

9. You must get approached by and exposed to so many great bands that would love to work for Cherrytree every day: what’s the process for sorting through to find new talent for the label?

This is the hardest thing to articulate because so much of it is based on particular taste and instinct. Cherrytree looks for unique and trend-setting artists within the tradition of pop music. I’m drawn to unique voices, great songwriting and compelling points-of-view.

10. What professional or musical accomplishment to date are you most proud of?

At Cherrytree Records, we’re privileged to work with really innovative artists such as Feist, Tokio Hotel, Sting, Lady Gaga and Robyn, just to name a few. That’s a real source of pride for me: to be involved with artists whose music is pushing creative boundaries as well as touching people’s emotions. In addition, I’m really proud of the connection that the team at Cherrytree has been able forge with the music-loving folks that form what I call our “pop alternative” community. I think that people can feel the family vibe that exists here at the label across the http://www.cherrytreerecords.com site and the other Cherrytree destinations including the Cherrytree chat, http://www.cherrytreeradio.com, and The Cherrytree House TV program. I think people can feel that we love our staff, our artists and their music. I consider it an honor to be able to work with the team at Cherrytree and its amazing roster of artists. I’m also grateful to all of the Cherrytreerec’ers – our supporters who feedback to us and egg us on every day.



{22 August, 2009}   Emilie Autumn: Tour Dates!

Friday, October 09: Toronto, ON, Opera House
Saturday, October 10: Montreal, QC, Les Saints
Monday, October 12: Cambridge, MA, Middle East
Tuesday, October 13: New York, NY, Highline Ballroom
Wednesday, October 14: Baltimore, MD, Bourbon Street Ballroom
Friday, October 16: Atlanta, GA, Masquerade
Saturday, October 17: Orlando, FL, The Social (early show)
Monday, October 19: Houston, TX, Meridian
Tuesday, October 20: Dallas, TX, Granada Theatre
Thursday, October 22: Mexico City, MX, El Circo
Saturday, October 24: Pomona, CA, Glasshouse
Sunday, October 25: Los Angeles, CA, Key Club
Tuesday, October 27: San Francisco, CA, Great American
Thursday, October 29: Portland, OR, Hawthorne Theatre
Friday, October 30: Vancouver, BC, The Rickshaw Theatre
Saturday, October 31: Seattle, WA, El Corazon
Monday, November 02: Salt Lake City, UT, Murray Theatre
Tuesday, November 03: Denver, CO, Bluebird
Wednesday, November 04: Lawrence, KS, Granada Theatre
Thursday, November 05: Minneapolis, MN, Varsity
Friday, November 06: Chicago, IL, Logan Square Auditorium

Visit Emilie’s Official Website and Ticketmaster for more information!

I’ll be at the New York show. :)



{22 August, 2009}   Kerli

I was going through all of my favorite artists trying to figure out whether I wanted to start off with The AccoLade, Infected Mushroom, Trifonov, Souad Massi, or whether I wanted to research someone I didn’t even know much about yet for this week. Then I logged into MySpace yesterday and saw the bulletin from Moon Children and Kerli about her performance at Ollesummer Festival in Estonia today and decided the timing was appropriate.

I actually discovered Kerli last May thanks to Tamar Anitai’s MTV Buzzworthy feature on her. Kerli often says that no one knows about or visits Estonia, but I got to spend time in the capital, Tallinn, back in summer of 2003 thanks to a trip with my school: I saw that she was from Estonia, and ran off to watch her Walking On Air video. I was addicted to it for a solid four months.

Musically, she’s often compared to Björk, though I totally think Kerli is one of those artists whose style defies any strict classification. Visually, she manages to pull off (and rock) an ethereal gothic Alice In Wonderland style that can look overdone or just plain bad on most people. I’m also completely jealous of her hair.

So, sit back and let Kerli’s Walking On Air speak for itself. And if you’ve seen it already, sit back and watch it again. I know it’s been too long since I watched it.

You can find Kerli on her Official MySpace and you can purchase Love is Dead and the Walking On Air single on Amazon.



et cetera
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