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Tag: About Last Night (41-50 of 205)

D'Angelo, Elvis Costello, Chris Rock, the Roots pay tribute to Prince at Carnegie Hall

Is it the singer, or is it the song?

That was the question on the minds of both the eclectic cadre of performers and the sold out crowd at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Thursday night for a benefit show titled “The Music of Prince.” A bevy of the Purple One’s contemporaries and followers joined together to genuflect at his funky altar, with the proceeds from the show going to a number of music-related charities for kids.

This was the ninth year for the series, and in the past, several of the tribute centerpieces—including Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young—made surprise appearances at their own shows. Prince himself did not materialize last night, but there were so many fascinating interpretations of his work and explorations of his unique charisma that it was almost better without his all-seeing eyes watching over the proceedings.

The evening began relatively tamely, with the Waterboys busting out a faithful rendition of “Purple Rain.” Though he bears no physical or aesthetic resemblance to Prince, singer Mike Scott managed to nail the same kind of passion and pathos the song’s creator first sent coursing through its veins nearly 30 years ago. It was almost too perfect, and it set an uncomfortable tone early in the evening: Would this simply be two and a half hours of extremely well-executed Prince karaoke, overseen by house band the Roots?

Luckily, subsequent performers took many more liberties with Prince’s songs, and while that led to some awkward moments, their ingenuity was generally rewarded. READ FULL STORY

Before his world tour with Rihanna, A$AP Rocky goes small in Brooklyn

In just a couple of weeks, Harlem wunderkind A$AP Rocky will embark as the opener on Rihanna’s global Diamonds tour, but last night, he held down a markedly smaller affair for Scion’s Open Mic concert series, which went down at the small, 400-capacity Public Assembly in Brooklyn. (The show was part of an ongoing run that has also brought out the likes of Danny Brown, Action Bronson, and Trinidad James in the past year.)

Considering his career trajectory — the $3 million record contract, LongLiveA$AP opening at No. 1, the ascent of “F—-n’ Problems” — it was probably the smallest venue he’ll play in a while, and it showed in the long line that waited in near-freezing temperatures for his midnight appearance.

But anyone hoping for a preview of what Rocky’s planning for his big Diamonds gig probably didn’t find what they were looking for at Public Assembly. In the past year, Rocky’s become a festival mainstay, and his sets have ranged from rowdy throwdowns to solid but unexciting cameo-filled performances. Last night was somewhere in between those two points.

There was some friendly drink-throwing, and as usual, Rocky was there with a not-small crew — mainly his A$AP Mob buddies. (A$AP Ferg was one of the openers, and A$APs Twelvy, Nast and more made appearances throughout the night.) But a raucous, overcrowded room tends to work in the rapper’s favor: As charismatic as Rocky’s persona is, his stage presence tends to be on the weak side, with his slick flow often turning into a loud bark. The Public Assembly show was no exception. (Also not cooperating: the in-house spotlight tech, who did not respond to Rocky’s repeated mood-setting request for purple lights. Be more helpful, light guy!)

Ultimately, though, the audience — a packed collection of rapheads, lucky Instragrammers, and New Era enthusiasts — was more than willing to fill in the blanks, shouting along to Rocky’s impressive catalog of spacey jams (“Fashion Killa,” “Peso”) and radio bangers (“Goldie,” one-third of “F—-n’ Problems”). Rocky’s call-and-responses were met with enthusiasm levels ranging from Moderately High to Siberian Comet High, and he got pretty much everyone to move at some point in the night.

But a small gathering of streetwise superfans is one thing. How Rocky will be able to convert his show into a stadium-set, Rihanna-worthy experience remains to be seen. For a taste of last night’s show, check out the video below:

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Tegan and Sara dance through 'Heartthrob' -- Live on the scene at New York's Beacon Theatre

The Quin sisters are dance-obsessed.

The Canadian duo’s awesome new album Heartthrob was produced by Greg Kurstin (Pink, Gwen Stefani, Ke$ha), Mike Elizondo (Eminem, 50 Cent, Nelly Furtado), and Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Gnarls Barkley), all of whom infused the ladies’ huge pop hooks with heady keyboard atmospherics and bass-heavy throb.

During their performance at New York’s Beacon Theatre on Wednesday night, Tegan asked the crowd if they were excited about the return of rave fashion, noting that she and her sister used to be part of the glowstick crowd in the late ’90s.

The duo may have masked their penchant for massive pop hooks on their earliest releases, which tended to lean on indie-folk singalongs. Slowly though, they added more crunch and jitter, punking up the guitars and speeding up the drums. As their sound evolved, it became clear that they had always been writing dance music—it just took a few albums for the full-on pop diva costume to fit right.

They drove that point home over the course of a nearly two-hour set at the Beacon, which featured a healthy dose of Heartthrob. Though those songs are mostly radio-ready smashes (“Drove Me Wild” seems particularly primed for heavy rotation), Tegan was almost apologetic about rolling out so much new stuff. READ FULL STORY

Frank Ocean at the Grammys: What happened?

Last year’s Grammys really spoiled us. Though the death of Whitney Houston cast a certain somber pall over the entirety of the evening, there was a clear narrative that emerged from the show’s proceedings: Adele has arrived as a superstar who will be around for a long time and whose work is as close to bulletproof—both critically and commercially—as it can get. It was an easy story to digest, and all Adele had to do was show up and act gracious (the fact that she was singing in America for the first time since throat surgery helped the narrative, too).

Last night’s show offered no such clarity. The winners were scattershot (the Black Keys took home the most awards of the night, though they didn’t win any of the Big Three—Record, Song, or Album of the Year), and just about everybody walked out of the Staples Center roughly as big as they were when they walked in. There were no clear moments of ascendence, though Justin Timberlake, the Lumineers, and fun. are all getting iTunes sales bumps today.

In fact, this year’s Grammy Awards were perhaps most notable for something that didn’t happen: The elevation of Frank Ocean from modestly successful critical darling to full-blown superstar.

READ FULL STORY

Justin Bieber releases new song on Grammy night -- LISTEN

No Grammys, no problem for Justin Bieber.

The singer – who hosted Saturday Night Live over the weekend – wasn’t nominated for any Grammys this year, but it’s going to take more than that to slow the 18-year-old down.

Last night on Twitter he announced to his 34,000,000+ followers that he was hosting a livestream chat at 8 (same time as the Grammys). Two things to know: 1.) The talk experienced some technical difficulties, and wasn’t able to happen. 2.) He uploaded a shirtless message instead. After venting on Twiter about tech issues, he didn’t want the evening to be a total loss, so he also announced some new music: “since nothing is working and im super upset i feel i gotta make it up to u. i should post a new song on twitter so you can still be excited…its not finished but heres a little part a song I’m working on,” he wrote along with a link to Soundcloud.

Technology really wasn’t on his side last night. The Soundcloud link now isn’t working either, but some helpful Beliebers instantly put the song on YouTube. Check out “You Want Me” below: READ FULL STORY

John Cale celebrates the music of Nico with Kim Gordon, Greg Dulli, Yeasayer, and more

Christa Päffgen was better known to the world as Nico, the German-born art-rock chanteuse who lent her haunting vocals to the Velvet Underground’s most seminal work and carved out a deeply influential solo career. Though she passed away nearly 25 years ago, her work (especially The Velvet Underground & Nico and her 1967 solo debut Chelsea Girl) still echoes with incredible resonance. Her style inspired multiple generations of Goth acts, quirky-voiced art belters like Bjork, and filmmakers like Wes Anderson (who used two Chelsea Girl recordings during key moments in The Royal Tennenbaums; it could be argued that Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in that movie was at least partially inspired by Nico herself). 

Friend and frequent collaborator John Cale, a founding member of the Velvet Underground and producer of several Nico solo albums, recognizes her impact better than anybody. That is why Cale produced last night’s show Life Along the Borderline: A Tribute to Nico at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of their Next Wave Festival. For a sense of how deeply Nico’s songs have been felt, one need only look at the lineup of guests and collaborators who filled BAM’s Gilman Opera House: Sonic Youth founder Kim Gordon, Sharon Van Etten, Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli, the Kills singer Alison Mosshart, Joan as Police Woman, Peaches, and Brooklyn indie groovers Yeasayer.

Nico’s songs offer a lot of unique opportunities: Most of them are made up of very few elements, which allowed many of last night’s interpreters to deconstruct those elements and glue them back together at strange angles. READ FULL STORY

Bruce Springsteen, the Who, Billy Joel, and Beatlevana: On the scene at 12-12-12

Wednesday night’s 12-12-12 benefit concert for Sandy relief was an unqualified success: Before even a single note was played on stage at New York’s Madison Square Garden, more than $30 million had already been raised for the Robin Hood Foundation through ticket sales, merchandise, and corporate pledges.

As a charity event, 12-12-12 was a slam dunk. As a musical entertainment endeavor, it was more of a mixed bag, full of plenty of glorious, triumphant moments for sure, but also bloated with curious choices and inexplicable performances.

Bruce Springsteen had the honor of kicking the show off, beginning his band’s brief set with “Land of Hope and Dreams.” As Jersey’s greatest ambassador for well over three decades, Springsteen sweated and howled through the opener’s anthemic refrain, only to raise the stakes on “Wrecking Ball,” a defiant anthem of hope from the album of the same name.

“Wrecking Ball” started a running theme of transformation through out the night: Familiar songs became re-packaged and recontextualized, and themes of renewal and rebirth crept up during the finest performances. READ FULL STORY

The Rolling Stones live in Brooklyn: On the scene

Can a rock show ever be just a rock show when it’s the Rolling Stones?

The band’s appearance Saturday night at the brand-new Barclays Center in Brooklyn — one of only five live dates in their 50th-anniversary celebration — was a lot of things: A history lesson, a victory lap, a possible swan song, and most of all, a strange sort of meta experience, a living diorama of rock & roll legendry.

In some ways, the concert itself almost seemed beside the point. For many of the fans who had paid hundreds and even thousands of dollars for their seats (yes, tickets were famously expensive, but almost no one in the very full house looked like they regretted the outlay) just being in a room that held Mick and Keith and Ronnie and Charlie together onstage seemed to be its own giddy reward. Did the band also want to play a few songs? They did? Fantastic! READ FULL STORY

Fun Fun Fun Fest Austin recap: Run-DMC, Superchunk, and a whole lot of Ryan Gosling

What’s that? You didn’t realize that Austin had another music festival between last month’s Austin City Limits and March’s South By Southwest? Then you, sir or ma’am, are not Terrance Malick. (More on that later.)

This past weekend, Fun Fun Fun Fest — a three-day event with four stages of college-radio royalty, hip-hop heroes, and your cool older brother’s favorite hardcore bands — took over the sunny Texas capital for the seventh year in a row. And while this newish entry to the festival-industrial complex doesn’t yet have the hashtag ubiquity and Tupac holograms of its more established peers, it is able to rope in a reunited Run-DMC, top-shelf comedy, and enough Ryan Gosling appearances to justify its own Tumblr. Also, there was a taco canon. (None on that later.)

And Music Mix was there too. Forthwith, a day-by-day graded run-down of Fun Fun Fun Fest’s highlights. READ FULL STORY

Axl Rose shows up on time, gives Jimmy Kimmel first live TV interview in 20 years -- VIDEO

Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose broke a long streak last night — sitting down for his first live television interview in more than 20 years.

To celebrate his band’s upcoming 12-night residency at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas (which kicks off on Halloween, of course), Rose took over the couch on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss his hitchhiking past, his issues with punctuality, and his personal Halloween tree.

There weren’t a whole lot of revelations during the 12-minute conversation, though there were a handful of funny moments. Kimmel seemed genuinely surprised the interview was even happening — he repeatedly commented on the fact that he didn’t know what to expect and was amazed that Rose appeared at the appropriate time.

His penchant for lateness was a recurring theme: Axl assured concertgoers that the group’s Vegas shows would actually start at the time printed on their tickets, and Kimmel noted that Rose has the Oscar Wilde quote “Punctuality is the thief of time” framed in his house.

The funniest part came when Axl revealed that he had a Halloween tree in his house, which is just like a Christmas tree except for… Halloween-themed. “That’s the most evil thing I’ve ever done,” Rose joked, noting that he mostly used it to taunt kids who come to his house to trick or treat. “I say to them, ‘You mean you don’t have a Halloween tree?’”

Kimmel took some questions from Twitter, including one from a fan who wanted to know what Rose did when he ran offstage (he feels kind of dumb during solos, which is as reasonable an explanation as he could have), and another wondering who Axl was going to vote for. (Sayeth Mr. Rose: “I don’t really vote,” so don’t expect him to show up on any Rock the Vote videos any time soon).

At the end, Rose treated two people in the audience to tickets to the Vegas show, and then invited everybody out for a burger from a truck he had brought with him. Watch the interview below: READ FULL STORY

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