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


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.)

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.

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!!

{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)

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:

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.”

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

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

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.

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

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.

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…

{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