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Tag: Concert Reviews (11-20 of 150)

Metallica shred through heavy classics at Apollo Theater

Improbably, Metallica are currently at their peak. Though their recorded output in the 21st century has been relatively lackluster, the live experience operates at a level that is far beyond just about any other band on the planet, metal or otherwise. Thirty years after the release of their gloriously nasty debut Kill ‘Em All, they are still making discoveries about how fast and brutal two guitars, a bass, and drums can be.

They’re also still hitting milestones. On Saturday night (September 21), Metallica played the legendary Apollo Theater, in the heart of Harlem in New York City. At only 1,500 seats, it’s a cartoonishly small space for the band in 2013 (their previous trip to New York found them headlining Yankee Stadium), but the intimacy (and lack of pyrotechnics) did not stop the group from turning a few hundred lucky SiriusXM subscribers into a fine ash over the course of their two-plus hour set (which was also simulcast on SiriusXM’s Mandatory Metallica station).

The event was part of the band’s promotion of their about-to-open 3D concert/action flick Metallica Through The Never, which features both Dane DeHaan fighting a horse-riding embodiment of death and a vivid run through some of the most intense jams in the Metallica catalog.

The set list at the Apollo skewed towards those early blasters: Following the band’s now-traditional entrance to Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold” (from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), Metallica plowed through a triple-shot of old school shredders in “Hit the Lights,” “Master of Puppets,” and “Ride the Lightning.” READ FULL STORY

Metallica show closes Comic-Con Friday

Metallica Day, as some media referred to Comic-Con Friday, came to a rapturous close this evening as the legendary metal band tore through a 90-minute set at San Diego’s historic Spreckels Theatre. In town to promote their upcoming film, Metallica Through the Never, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammet, and Robert Trujillo ended a daylong whirlwind of press and interviews by pummeling the crowd of just 1,463 very lucky fans into a joyous, ear-ringing pulp.

Standing before a lit backdrop of the movie’s logo, Hetfield dropped in an obligatory mention of the film early on. “You see the trailer?” he asked. “You wanna see the whole thing? Yeah, so do we.” READ FULL STORY

Governors Ball, Day 1: Lots of weather, some music, no Kings of Leon

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The British have a lot of weird old traditions, but perhaps the most peculiar one is their annual insistence on hanging out in the rain and mud to listen to music. Every year, thousands of otherwise normal-seeming Britons convene in the farms and parks of Reading and Leeds with the knowledge that they and their loved ones have a high chance of getting soaked. And the sick part is, they seem to enjoy it.

From what I could tell, the majority of people at the opening day of the Governors Ball Festival on New York City’s Randall’s Island were not British, and did not enjoy it. Yet amid a relentless battery of heavy rains and high winds courtesy of Tropical Storm Andrea, the festival did its best to keep calm on and carry on by sticking to their schedule of artists, which included Erykah Badu, Local Natives, Young the Giant, Best Coast, and more. At a certain point, though, you gotta know when to call it, and the Gov Ball organizers were forced to cancel the party before the night’s headliners, Kings of Leon and Pretty Lights, had a chance to take the stage. (To make up for it, Kings of Leon is now scheduled to play this evening.)

READ FULL STORY

On the scene at Vampire Weekend's AmEx 'Unstaged' concert in New York, directed by Steve Buscemi

Ivy League rockers Vampire Weekend have always been a unique musical math equation: One part house-party pop and two parts sonic safari, multiplied by Cape Cod plus keyboards, all squared by the new millennium.

The New York foursome took the stage at the Roseland Ballroom as part of American Express’ “Unstaged” series last night — its past alumni include Jack White, the Killers, and Coldplay, matched up with directors like Wernor Herzog and Gary Oldman; watch previous clips here — on the final night of the Tribeca Film Festival. And with the set’s turned-up bass drum and synchronized lights, the Roseland suddenly felt less like a rock venue than full-on dance hall. READ FULL STORY

Taylor Swift takes on critics during Newark concert: 'They're building you up just to knock you down. But they haven't yet.'

It was a sea of red as Taylor Swift kicked off the first of three shows at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ last night as part of her Red tour — red spotlights, giant red flags, sparkly red dress, sparkly red microphone, sparkly red guitar, even a sparkly red violin bow…you get the point.

The concert featured most of Swift’s new album, a soulful new arrangement of one of her biggest hits, one technical gaffe on a duet with opening act Ed Sheeran, and several references to the media’s treatment of her song topics and personal life.

After opening the concert with “State of Grace” and “Holy Ground,” Swift addressed the screaming masses before launching into the title track from her recent Red album: “I write about my feelings. I’m told I have a lot of feelings,” she said with a smile. “But 13,000 of you opted into hearing about my feelings for the next two hours.” And she wasn’t kidding. READ FULL STORY

Pink spins out over Madison Square Garden: On the scene

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Reports of Pink’s acrobatics have not been greatly exaggerated.

Over the course of the pop star’s two-hour set in Madison Square Garden last night, she took flight on no less than three occasions — spinning, dangling, and twirling. Once, she crawled in, out, and over a giant metal sphere as it hovered in the air. I think it was meant to visualize her inner turmoil, or maybe her arm muscles.

Regardless, the scale of the setting suited her, with the audience as her echo chamber. It was so large in fact, with so much constant bigness, that everything small or smaller was swallowed. What remained had to boom.

The “Truth Above Love” tour is a lot of things (including game show and circus) but it is one thing above all: a showcase for the power-pop anthem, which Pink pulled and pushed on with a showboating snarl. (Look carefully and you’d have seen a high-kick or two in the choreography.)

The night opened with “Raise Your Glass” and essentially didn’t stop. Even the ballad-y ballads got the arena treatment — a good thing, because some of them are, like, not very good. (Example: “Just Give Me A Reason” with guest-via-video-screen Nate Ruess, or, a good song strangled by a bad one.) Nothing was under-produced, with a crew and set design that included, at minimum, a dozen screens, a dozen dancers, and a dozen singers and musicians.

While performing “How Come You’re Not Here,” off her latest album, Pink was backed by the moving images of a videogame nightmare come to life in which she was pixelized and chased by spiked missiles. Elsewhere, the muscular backs of her dancers offered as much spectacle as the high-wires that strung across the ceiling.

Do you have to be a Pink fan to enjoy the tour? It’s a ridiculous question: you’ll be blasted by almost two hours of music and end up a Pink fan, regardless. The wall-to-wall setlist had its interludes, in the form of spotlit one-offs (a guitar solo; an appearance by a man-in-the-moon straight out of a Méliès short; philosophy from our host of the game show-within-a-tour) and a late-in-the-night turn toward the acoustic. But the audience filled in around even the sound of a lone instrument. This was not the kind of crowd for stillness.

And why should it be? At 33, Alecia “Pink” Moore has become the grand dame for sloppy, self-actualizing feminism. She’s a dork! She’s a slut! (Reformed!) And she is, it must be said, the fount for some truly great music, if the definition of greatness has room for surround-sound choruses and sticky, bounce-back lyrics. (The songs spanned her decade-plus career, including a dance-heavy medley — “There You Go,” “You Make Me Sick” — covering her early 2000s R&B moment; more personal mid-career confessionals like “Family Portrait” and “Just Like a Pill”; a cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”; and the requisite NSFW anthems “F—in’ Perfect,” “So What,” and “U + Ur Hand.”)

The night ended not at all as it began, with the show’s game show motif, and attendant faux-host, wrapped up and sent off before a second encore of “Glitter in the Air.”

Of course, Pink used it as a chance to fly — and, for the first time in the night, dip herself into the water. The audience stood cheering up to the credits, as if they hadn’t quite gotten over not being her loudest backing vocal. And what about Pink? She’s somewhere, I’m sure, still soaring.

Read more:
SXSW: The amazing, never-ending Prince show — a moment-by-moment report
Fun. deal with their baggage in ‘Why Am I The One’ video: Watch here!
Nicki Minaj before vs. Nicki Minaj after — POLL

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

Lady Gaga brings Born This Way Ball to Los Angeles: On the scene

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The inaugural balls may have been the talk of Washington on Monday night, but it was Lady Gaga’s Born this Way Ball that brought the house down at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The pop diva/fashion icon/songstress put on a show that was closer to a Broadway revue than a rock concert, lasting nearly two and a half hours, complete with a goth sci-fi “storyline,” about a dozen costume changes, and a bevvy of tight-ab’ed, midriff-baring dancers.

While Gaga is still a force to be reckoned with – legions of devoted “little monsters” were dressed in all manner of Gaga-ness, from wigs in every color to sky-high heels – the show was not sold out, and the spectacle of Gaga wearing crazy costumes or preaching about LGBT rights, while admirable and fun to see, did not feel as shocking or momentous as it has on past tours. That said, she more than delivered on the promise of an over-the-top glitterfest. 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

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

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