The 2014 Coachella will be memorialized as the year of the cameo. If Saturday elicited surprise appearances from the likes of Jay Z, Puff Daddy, Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Sunday’s guest list attempted to up the ante—with a no-RSVP-needed guest list that included Mary J. Blige, Justin Bieber, Drake, and Deborah Harry from Blondie. By the time nightfall descended on the Polo Grounds in Indio, A-list musicians were practically popping up out of the Port-A-Potties. READ FULL STORY
Tag: About Last Night (1-10 of 205)
By Saturday night, the Coachella Valley Music festival starts to feel like being favorably trapped inside a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Most options led to auspicious surprises, if you could withstand the cyclone winds choking the Polo Fields. At midnight, Nas performed the entirety of his seminal ’90s album Illmatic, accompanied by former nemesis-turned-ally Jay Z. Puff Daddy even bopped out to perform “Hate Me Now.” READ FULL STORY
At this point in my career as a guy who writes about music, I have crossed off almost everything on my bucket list or allowed for the fact that it is impossible to do some of those things. For example, I always wanted to see Metallica—one of my favorite bands of all time—in as small a room as possible, and I did in fact get to do that last year. On the other hand, I allow that my window for interviewing David Bowie has almost certainly closed (and my chance to talk to Kurt Cobain was gone before I ever got started).
“Can you believe this place is 95 years old?” Lady Gaga asked the Sunday night crowd at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom, prompting — what else? — shrieks of adoration from her devoted fans. “What an old bitch.”
The Syracuse hardcore band Perfect Pussy won the lion’s share of SXSW’s cool-kid attention. Destruction Unit put on some of the week’s most raucous shows. Bigger bands (well, relatively) like Speedy Ortiz, Cloud Nothings, Parquet Courts, and F—ed Up went above and beyond to put on a slew of killer parties.
But who cares about that crap, because Rick Ross has the No. 1 album in the country!!!! Did you know that Rick Ross has the No. 1 album in the country? If you didn’t, he and his hype man at the Fader Fort last night made sure to remind everyone over and over. And over.
As has been the trend for a few years now, Big Rap turned SXSW into its own game. The festival’s closing night drove that point home: Ross celebrated his chart-topping new record Mastermind by headlining Fader, A$AP Mob and Mobb Deep capped their own busy weeks at 1100 Warehouse, and 2 Chainz took over a showcase at Brazos Hall.
Clearly, it was a rap-heavy schedule, and that’s not even counting Jay And Kanye’s Samsung event Wednesday night or the shows by Future, Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, B.o.B., Nas, and, um, Ludacris.
How big is Damon Albarn in America? It’s a question that comes up unusually often at the EW offices, partly because we suspect that the answer will disappoint us.
Obviously people know of the man’s work, but mostly in a backwards sort of way. In terms of Stateside popularity, his multiplatinum animated rap group Gorillaz far eclipses Blur, the legendary Britpop act he fronted for more than a decade — though even they have a mainstream foothold thanks to their alt-radio hit “Girls and Boys” and the woo-hoo anthem “Song 2.”
But Albarn himself never really became a household name in the U.S. It doesn’t help that his strongest work — those early Blur records, considered classics across the pond — was very deeply and decidedly British, literally by design. But now that he’s got his debut solo album (out in April) to promote, it’s natural to wonder whether his name alone can lure a large American audience.
According to his SXSW set at the Fader Fort on Friday, he can — with a little help from his friends. The annual event’s east-of-center venue was packed for Albarn’s performance, but since the bill promised he’d have “special guests” with him, fans were able to deduce that they’d get to see either Blur or Gorillaz play live. They got the latter: Del the Funkee Homosapien, De La Soul, Dan the Automator, and Snoop Dogg each had a chance to hop on stage and bring the cartoon group’s trippy songs to life.
Back in 2011 and 2012, super friends Jay Z and Kanye West took their epic Watch the Throne tour everywhere from Paris to Vancouver. Even New Jersey got a two-night stand. One place they skipped, though? Austin, Texas.
That changed last night, when Jay and ‘Ye took over the Austin Music Hall for Samsung’s big SXSW party. Needless to say, people were excited; even Tyler, the Creator, who had a showcase of his own to play later that night, could be seen wilding out in the middle of the young crowd and, inevitably, inspiring a flood of Samsung-sponsored selfies from the fans around him. (Sadly, Tyler’s scheduled 1 a.m. showcase at Mohawk would end up being marred by tragedy.)
So did the Throne live up to the hype? Without a doubt. Sure, the concept and set-list was more or less a facsimile of the official tour — the rappers dueled from atop opposing glowing cubes amid a spastic laser show, before eventually taking the actual stage together and tag-teaming in and out for solo mini-sets — but that didn’t stop everyone from losing themselves during the two-hour blowout. And both Jay and Kanye have put out a bunch of new music since they last convened onstage: Hova had his (also Samsung-aided) Magna Carta Holy Grail, while West had his Yeezus masterpiece, plus the Cruel Summer comp he released under the G.O.O.D. Music banner.
But since the notes on my phone are roughly 85% exclamation points, it might be best to break it down by the numbers: READ FULL STORY
Coldplay parachuted into the South by Southwest music festival Tuesday night with a 50-minute performance that mixed familiar hits with new songs from their upcoming sixth album, Ghost Stories.
The hot-ticket show at the intimate 2,700-seat Moody Theater at ACL Live kicked off the inaugural U.S. iTunes Festival, which runs over five nights during the fest. After sets by openers London Grammar and Imagine Dragons, frontman Chris Martin and co. took the stage looking trim and fit in a nondescript knit shirts.
“We’ve been away a long time, and I can’t think of a better place to come back into the world,” Martin told the crowd before launching into band standards including “Paradise,” “Viva La Vida,” “Fix You,” “Clocks” and “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” (that last adding a confetti cannon that left Martin wrapped up like a mummy). The new slower-paced new songs “Another’s Arms,” “Always In My Head” and “Magic” suggested Ghost Stories might be a more subdued entry into the band’s discography. Martin also took a moment to send “good vibes” to “everyone involved in the Malaysian [missing plane] situation.”
Performance wise, the group seemed pretty much note-perfect (and when Martin messed up the intro to one song, he called himself out on it) and the high-tech presentation left one fan screaming: “This needs more lasers!” It was snark, but happy snark.
Here’s a clip of Coldplay playing new Ghost track “Magic” last night: READ FULL STORY
The Hammerstein Ballroom was originally constructed as an opera house and, in the eyes of founder Oscar Hammerstein, was meant to return a stuffy art form back to the people. On Friday night, a reversal occurred when Howard Stern, the definitive American radio personality for two generations, found his populist form elevated by a staggering stream of boldfaced names who paid tribute to him on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
Hosted and broadcast live via SiriusXM, Stern’s home for the last eight years, the Howard Stern Birthday Bash filled the Ballroom with famous faces and crowded its stage with comedians, musicians, and fellow broadcasters to celebrate Stern’s life and career, which has evolved from the juvenile rabble-rousing of his early terrestrial life to the statelier (but still brutally honest) conversations of the satellite era. Sure, the Wack Pack was in the building, but so was Robert Downey, Jr., Larry King, Barbara Walters, Harvey Weinstein, and Hilary Swank — and that was mostly at one table. READ FULL STORY
Grammys Winner Snubs and Surprises: Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath steal, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar get robbed
Last night, there was a tweet floating around the Internet that noted that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had already amassed four Grammys and legendary artists like Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Jimi Hendrix, the Beach Boys, and the Who have a grand total of zero among them.
The suggestion, of course, is that possessing an an armload of Academy-issued gold sippy cups doesn’t necessarily have any real correlation to artistic greatness.
Still, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some head-scratching decisions and maddening snubs during last night’s telecast, most of which happened off-camera. As surprised as Taylor Swift was that Daft Punk won the Grammy for Album of the Year last night, the French duo’s victory can’t entirely be called an upset; though there were some mild surprises among the awards handed out live at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, there wasn’t a single on-camera score that could be considered a true surprise of snub.
Luckily, there were dozens more awards given out before the televised show even started, and there lives a parade of outrage. READ FULL STORY
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