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Tag: About Last Night (71-80 of 210)

Nas brings 'Illmatic,' New York City trash cans to SXSW

In her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling of the American Office argues that “with the [British Office] character David Brent, Ricky Gervais guaranteed that he would live in the pantheon forever, even if he did years of terrible, mediocre stuff.”

Gervais should get a beer with Nas. While he hasn’t produced anything truly terrible yet, the 38-old rapper will likely never outdo his 1994 debut, Illmatic. He’s had some good albums (and some just-okay ones) since then, but that record — one of hip-hop’s finest, period — will always define him.

As such, the classic East Coast album was on everyone’s mind at the Queensbridge rapper’s SXSW show at ACL’s Moody Theater. The stage was expertly dressed to resemble a New York street corner, complete with graffiti, a subway entrance, and an authentic-looking NYC trash can. For the many traveling New Yorkers weary on the last night of the festival, it was a little tempting to pull out a Metrocard and ride the imaginary train all the way back home.

Nas was also looking to take a trip to another time and place. Much like Jay-Z’s recent Carnegie Hall debut (which featured a Nas cameo), this NYCentric show splashed the wall with large, postcard-ready images of Big Apple icons like the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge. The decor cemented what many had hoped: Nas would be serving up llmatic, the album that helped shape the New York sound.

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SXSW: Dinosaur Jr. start a mosh pit, ask why we're not watching Jack White

Full disclosure: I’m one of those people who, if told Dinosaur Jr. is playing somewhere, will immediately run to the show. I don’t even wait for the person to tell me where, I just leave and trust that I’ll find it.

Friday night, I found them at a small, off-the-beaten-path drinking hole called Bar 96 for a Filter showcase. The place was small, barely able to contain J. Mascis’ flowing white hair, let alone the hordes of drunk dudes looking to mosh the night away.

And oh, how they moshed. One of the best things about Dinosaur Jr. is that they can get gloriously loud, and a tiny stage outside a bar makes their big-and-noisy guitars bigger and noisier.

No complaints here. Somehow, the band that more-or-less began in 1982 (in the form of Deep Wound) never sound not-good. They’re not one of those reunion bands that rely on the past (*cough* The Cult *cough*). Since they got back together in 2005 (when Mascis and Lou Barlow were finally able to settle their differences), they’ve released two albums that rival their late-’80s/early-’90s classics, and their live shows still make most other bands sound like idiots.

Or maybe I’m the idiot. “I don’t know what the f— you’re doing here,” Barlow joked to the crowd during the show. “Jack White is playing solo right now. A living saint is playing right now! The savior of American music is out there, and you’re here watching some old hardcore hippies play?”

We were, and their stellar set of unsinkable ships like “Feel the Pain” and “Freak Scene” did little to make anyone regret their decision.

But Barlow has trouble letting things go. “Do you hate America?” he continued. “Somebody in this town is playing the blues right now; why are you here?”

“We’re going to play a Cure song right now,” he added. “We love the Cure more than we love the blues. F— Dinosaur Jr.!”

As expected, their famous, long-running rendition of “Just Like Heaven” whipped the crowd into a frenzy — it’s always an amazing thing to see mosh-pit bros crowdsurf to the Cure. Then, as an added treat, the band capped the night with the aptly titled oldie-but-greatie “Sludgefeast.” Yep, all other bands are idiots.

Read more:
Jack White announces solo album, debuts new song ‘Love Interruption': Hear it here
Bruce Springsteen at SXSW: The Boss invites every person he’s ever met on stage at epic three-hour show
Kimbra, Alabama Shakes, Sharon Van Etten highlight Wednesday night at SXSW

Jack White takes over SXSW with new songs, fancy suits

There’s a real “come as you are” approach to dressing for South By Southwest — florescent hair, ironic T-shirts, giant medallions shaped like characters from Rugrats, Ghostbusters-style jump suits. Plus, the weather is all over the place. Cut-off shorts? Seen plenty of’em. Puffy parkas? Ran across at least one of those too.

But you don’t see a whole lot of natty three-piece suits, let alone ones topped off by sassy fedoras—unless you were at the Third Man Records/From The Basement showcase at Stage on Sixth Friday night. Third Man label boss and blues-loving bon vivant Jack White clad his support staff — band members and roadies alike — in natty attire, simultaneously reminding everybody that there was work to be done, and it was to be executed in White’s extremely particular style. (Unfortunately no photos were immediately available from the event, so the picture above is from an earlier show).

The formality was appropriate, as White’s set had grown into one of the most looked-forward-to musical events of the weekend, and the line to try to get in to see him and his label cohorts stretched for several blocks. People were curious about the new material from White’s forthcoming solo debut Blunderbuss, but they were also simply drawn in by his unique charisma and his chops as a performer. And by tapping into the past—classic country, Delta blues, cacophonous teenage garage rock—he has often predicted the future. What would he reveal this time?

White’s first order of business was indulging in one of the cornerstone rules of a rock show: Get’em early. READ FULL STORY

Bruce Springsteen at SXSW: The Boss invites every person he's ever met on stage at epic three-hour show

There weren’t any great revelations that emerged from Bruce Springsteen’s Thursday afternoon keynote address at the music portion of the South by Southwest Festival. The Boss didn’t have a whole lot of clear ideas to impart, and even he agreed with that estimate (“I gave a big speech this morning, f—ed the whole thing up,” he joked from the stage later).

Mostly, he just got across the idea that he loves rock music, and that it still holds some sort of undefinable power — and later that night he got the chance to prove it where it counts: on stage, in an epic three-hour set at Moody’s Theater in Austin.

The big headlines will probably belong to Springsteen’s giant list of collaborators, which ranged from Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who sat in on a trio of tunes, including a raucous, metaled-up version of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” that split the difference between Springsteen’s acoustic original and Rage’s aggro cover, to Jimmy Cliff, who came out to do a mini set of his own during the encore, including an effervescent “The Harder They Come.”

The Animals’ Eric Burdon also stopped by to blast through “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” (according to Springsteen, he happened to realize Burdon was in town thanks to Twitter, and noted that he has stolen from him more than anyone else in his career), and the night closed with an overwhelming spin through Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” featuring Morello, Burdon, Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo (who also opened the show), and members of Arcade Fire. READ FULL STORY

Mariah Carey returns to the stage for the first time since the birth of #DemBabies: See the video here

Throughout her career, Mariah Carey has rarely done anything that could be described as “understated” (you need look no further than her legendary episode of MTV Cribs for proof).

But for her grand return to the stage last night– her first performance since giving birth to twins — Carey kept it small.

Her performance was part of a series called “Plot Your Escape: Four Concerts. Countless Celebrities,” at New York’s tiny Gotham Hall. The evening simulcasted four shows from four different cities: Carey and Diddy in New York, Lil Wayne and Cee Lo in Los Angeles (is that why Weezy bagged on Jimmy Kimmel Live?), Sara Bareilles and Maroon 5 in Chicago, and Mary J. Blige and Gavin DeGraw in New Orleans.

A be-gowned Carey kept the whole thing pretty loose, even joking with the audience that she wasn’t entirely prepared for the evening. (Such was the case when she ran into a bit of trouble on her 1996 hit “Always Be My Baby,” when she seemed to have forgotten where she was supposed to come in). Check it out below. READ FULL STORY

Grammys 2012: Adele's '21' tops iTunes charts and Amazon Best Sellers list

adele-21_320.jpg

“We could have had it all.” Well, at this point, Adele you sort of do have it all.

In addition to her Grammys sweep last night (the acclaimed songstress won in all six of her nominated categories, including Record of the Year for “Rolling in the Deep” and Album of the Year for her platinum smash 21), Adele is once again dominating the charts. As of Monday, the Grammy-winning 21 (which has spent fifty weeks on Billboard) topped the iTunes charts, just ahead of Whitney Houston‘s Greatest Hits album. The late singer’s catalog unsurprisingly saw a surge in sales over the weekend after the news of her passing. But Adele (whose previous Grammy-winning album 19 also found its way into the top 10) wasn’t the only one to get an iTunes boost. Coldplay, the Civil Wars, and Kelly Clarkson also saw a boost thanks to their Grammy appearances.
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Grammys 2012: An on-the-scene report from inside the Staples Center

Partially designed as a live concert for 28,000 fans, the Grammy Awards are truly made for their much larger TV audience.

So when it comes to the annual kudos-fest, what you see on your screen at home is largely what you get inside the show at the Staples Center in downtown L.A., too. There isn’t much fanfare during the commercial breaks or off-screen activities happening, and — since the Staples Center is so huge — it’s overwhelming to zero in on what little delights could be happening around the arena.

But, I was there last night, and since I was, I thought I’d share with you the few little tidbits that you might not have seen on your own televisions, like which classic Grammy performances they played for the Staples audience during the commercial breaks, and how the crowd reacted to various performances and moments. Here’s the tick-tock of the night from inside:

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Kelly Clarkson covers Madonna's 'Crazy for You' in concert: Watch here!

Everyone’s getting in on the latest frenzy around Madonna — even Kelly Clarkson.

The night before Clarkson performed the national anthem at the Super Bowl where Her Madgesty performed the halftime show, American Idol‘s original winner  got into the spirit of the weekend and performed a lovely, lilting, guitar-riffing cover of Madonna’s No. 1 hit from 1984, “Crazy for You.”

It was actually a fan request: Before each tour date, Clarkson has been soliciting her concertgoers for songs that she should cover. On this particular Saturday night stop in Bossier City, La., Clarkson did a cover of her own choice first — Florence and the Machine’s “Heavy in Your Arms” — before segueing into “Crazy for You.” (It’s all fitting, considering how Clarkson got into the business, right?)

Rather delightfully, she put her connection to the song into context for us. “This is like a couples-skate song!” Clarkson says in the middle of “Crazy for You.” At the end of her performance, she explained, “You know how when you hear a song and it brings you to a moment?” she says. “I was totally at the skating rink thinking of Michael Webb — whatever! So…anyway, I hated junior high and high school. I was that kid that never fit in. Wat wat!” Awwww.

Clarkson has recently covered such favorites as Heart’s “What About Love” and Coldplay’s “Fix You” in concert, but for now, enjoy her take on classic Madge:

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Jay-Z plays Carnegie Hall, brings Alicia Keys, Nas, and 'Glory' with him

“Allow to me to reintroduce myself,” a beaming, tuxedo-clad Jay-Z teased at the top of his charity show at Carnegie Hall in New York City last night.

He didn’t have to, of course, but when you’ve got an evergreen show-starter like “Public Service Announcement” on your hands, you use it.

The giddy new father was kicking off the first half of his two-night stand at the hallowed venue, the proceeds of which will benefit United Way of New York City and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.

Backed by a 36-piece orchestra, Jay swaggered across the stage with a bottle of champagne in his hand (“It’s tea,” he claimed) as images of Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects and other hometown signifiers splashed on the wall behind him.

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OK Go drive dangerously for 'Needing/Getting' Super Bowl video: Watch it here

Last night’s Super Bowl was big on drama, short on entertaining ads (though the one starring Mötley Crüe, featuring a rhino rodeo, sticks out the most to us), and heavy on music-related highlights.

There was Madonna’s halftime show, Kelly Clarkson’s on-point take on “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and even Katy Perry’s Saturday night Tebowing.

For sheer ingenuity, however, you have to tip your hat to OK Go. No stranger to elaborate, complicated music videos, the band took on the challenge of playing through a necessarily remixed version of their song “Needing/Getting” (from their woefully underrated 2010 album Of the Blue Colour of the Sky) using a whole bunch of guitars, dozens of keyboards, and a handful of homemade instruments.

Does that not sound impressive? What if we told you they played said instruments in a speeding car?

The video, which ran in shortened form last night as an ad for Chevrolet (the band used a custom-fitted Chevy Sonic), is below in all its violation-of-the-laws-of-physics glory. READ FULL STORY

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