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Tag: Concert Reviews (21-30 of 150)

One Direction performs animal mating calls at Madison Square Garden concert

Image Credit: Myrna Suarez

Image Credit: Myrna Suarez

British boy band One Direction made their return stateside last night for a sold out show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. But the real noise in the arena came from the thousands of screaming girls there to empty their lungs at each and every opportunity. (At one point a teen behind me screamed her brains out and then shrieked, “I don’t even know why I’m screaming!!!” I didn’t know either. One Direction was not scheduled to take the stage for another hour.)

When the band finally did appear and open with “Up All Night”— after an actual countdown clock complete with smoke, strobe lights, and video images of the boys frolicking in a tent — madness ensued. In between crooning favorites like “Live While We’re Young,” “Tell Me a Lie,” and “One Thing,” the band repeatedly expressed wonder at the venue and thanked fans for their support (both vocal and financial). “This place is bloody huge!” yelled Harry Styles. “This is absolutely crazy for everyone to join us from around the world.”  Zayn Malik later added that, “I have never been so overwhelmed in my entire life.” READ FULL STORY

On the scene: Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson celebrate Halloween early in New York

About a quarter of the way through his set at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday night, metal veteran and horror film director Rob Zombie paused to address the audience. “It’s a shame we couldn’t be here on Halloween,” he growled to the crowd. “But we figured it was close enough.”

Zombie could give that same speech every day of the year. Like Marilyn Manson—his co-headliner on what is being touted as the “Twins of Evil Tour”—he’s spent the better part of his life in costume, assuming the role of deranged barker at the center of a carnival obsessed with ancient monster movies, Z-list actresses’ breasts, and the whimsy of the devil himself.

Though the two scary men at the center of each hour-ish–long set may seem interchangeable, their performances were deeply distinct, both sonically and philosophically.  READ FULL STORY

Concert Review: Alabama Shakes at New York's Terminal 5

Image Credit: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

When writing about hot new bands, it’s easy to lapse into hyperbole. This is the best band on earth. She has the greatest voice I’ve ever heard. If you don’t love this group, you might as well throw yourself off a building.

I admit it’s easy and fun (and lucrative) to heap lavish praise upon your favorite acts. But the result of this unchecked vocabulary is the near canonization of every busker with a ukulele.

I don’t mean to imply that Alabama Shakes are buskers with ukuleles. What I mean is that, even though you see a bunch of reputable sources hailing them as the Second Coming, they’re really just a rock band. Nothing more.

They proved this at last night’s sold-out performance at New York’s Terminal 5. READ FULL STORY

On the scene: Wilco goes electric rock, but keep acoustic roots at Hollywood Bowl

For a band that built their reputation as alt-country pioneers, Wilco’s show at the Hollywood Bowl Sunday night was a bit harder rock than one might expect, with a set that varied at times (and sometimes even within songs) between electric jams and warm ditties. The show was the band’s fourth appearance in Southern California in 2012 alone, but their last before embarking on a European tour.

The Chicago natives, helmed by lead singer Jeff Tweedy, started off the night with familiar favorites, including “War on War” and “I am Trying to Break Your Heart” from their fourth (and most acclaimed) 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. At the end of “Heart”, the song took an electric, angrier tone than it does on the album, screeching to a final best-breakup-song-ever halt. But the jamming really got going with their take on “Impossible Germany”, off 2007’s Sky Blue Sky. Lead guitarist Nels Cline (who first recorded with the band on that album) played some serious chords for several minutes, breaking guitar strings and joining together with Tweedy and Patrick Sansone.

Corin Tucker Band blasts through songs from new album 'Kill My Blues' in New York

Corin Tucker’s place in rock history is already set in stone, and her work in the riot grrrl era is pretty much peerless, thanks to the the muscular guitar style, otherworldly wail, and knack for punchy, pounding three-minute blasts she brought to such great heights with riot queens Sleater-Kinney.

With that in mind, anything she—or Carrie Brownstein or Janet Weiss, the other two core members of S-K—does from now on is pretty much gravy. Back in 2010, Tucker released 1,000 Years, her debut with the Corin Tucker Band. It was a steady if sometimes sleepy collection of tunes that traded in Sleater-Kinney’s adolescent vigor for more refined ideas about family, money, and generally navigating the world of adulthood. (There was also “Miles Away,” which was about Bella Swan.)

Last week, the Corin Tucker Band released its second album Kill My Blues, which will inevitably go down as one of the most underrated albums of the year.


Metallica, the Kills, Sigur Ros and more at Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco -- Day Two on the scene

Alabama Shakes were solid, drawing a main-stage crowd to a second-stage show, and the Kills nailed it.  Explosions in the Sky were entertaining, and, by all accounts, Passion Pit and Sigur Ros were stunning.  But there was only one real story on Day 2 of the Outside Lands Festival, and the story was Metallica.

Golden Gate Park was their final San Francisco frontier  — Metallica have played virtually every Bay Area club, arena and stadium over the course of their 30-year history – and they were pumped:  of the 65,000 people in attendance, the four members of Metallica may have been the most excited of all.

“The whole vibe there is so f—ing next level that you know, all we’ve got to do is just show up and make sure we’re firing on all 24 cylinders,” drummer Lars Ulrich said last week, and, to invoke Nigel Tufnel,  last night Metallica were firing on all 25.  If there was ever a better concert in Golden Gate Park, it was only because there weren’t thousands of people hoisting their iPhones overhead in annoying attempts to document it.

The show was vintage Metallica; it started with “Hit the Lights” and ended with “Seek and Destroy,” both from their 1983 debut Kill Em All.  They played only one song during their two-hour set from their most recent release, 2008’s Death Magnetic, and (no huge surprise), nothing from Lulu, their 2011 collaboration with Lou Reed. Amongst the highlights:  “Master of Puppets,” “Fade To Black,” “Nothing Else Matters” and, of course, “Enter Sandman.”

There were fireworks and flame pots.  There were lasers and pyrotechnics, and 24 guitars were used over the course of an 18-song show. And while the bells and whistles may have taken the show over the top, it was Metallica’s music that provided the spectacle.

–by Julie Farman

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Neil Young, Foo Fighters rock S.F.'s Outside Lands festival: On the scene

The Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is unlike any other festival in America, and that’s partially because it reflects its location: San Francisco.

The event, held in Golden Gate Park, is fully greened-up, and the city’s foodie culture is represented in the 65 on-site restaurants, 49 wineries, and 19 breweries.  This year, there was even fog.

But for all of that, what Outside Lands is mostly about is the music – more than 60 bands over the course of 3 days — and on Day 1, the music was all about Neil Young.

You could hear Neil’s influence in Two Gallants, a powerful two piece who played early on Friday (and even though there’s no Neil in L.A.’s Fitz and the Tantrums, it was hard not to think the latter were booked to provide angst-free modern-soul diversity).  Beck covered “After The Gold Rush” mid-way through a typically brilliant set, and Dave Grohl started talking about Neil three songs into the Foos show. “We’ve got a lot of songs to play, and the quicker we play them, the faster I get to see Neil fu*king Young,” he said.  The crowd cheered, which was slightly surprising – for a lot of people at the festival, Grohl & Co. were the big ticket, and an abbreviated set wasn’t what they were looking for. READ FULL STORY

On the scene at Lollapalooza Saturday: Stormy weather leads to good vibrations for Frank Ocean and Red Hot Chili Peppers

By Kyle Anderson and Nolan Feeney

When the second day of Lollapalooza 2012 began on Saturday, it was just another ridiculously hot morning in Chicago—but by the time the final notes had been played in Grant Park, it had become historic.

For the first time ever, the entire festival was suspended due to inclement weather, and all of the festival’s attendees—the official number at the time of the storm was 60,000, plus 3,000 staff—were evacuated for two and a half hours while a vicious thunderstorm passed through.

At about three o’clock local time, word started spreading that a nasty storm front was headed in the direction of Grant Park, and that everybody should brace themselves for the worst. Only a few minutes later, the organizers of Lollapalooza did the bracing for everybody.

A number of bands, including Neon Indian, were forced to end their mid-afternoon sets early to make way for the announcement that everybody had to leave the grounds due to the oncoming weather. What at first seemed like an alarmist case of over-protection ended up being right on, as the wind and rain ripped through Downtown Chicago for a solid hour.

The festival attendees who didn’t fill the bars and restaurants surrounding Grant Park were lead to a trio of underground parking garages that served as shelters during the storm.

The gates were re-opened at around six o’clock, with a new schedule and a slightly extended curfew. Most everybody was allowed to go on later, with the headlining acts given the go-ahead to play until 10:45, just under the cutoff time for noise in Grant Park. In the end, only a handful of acts were cancelled outright, including Temper Trap, Alabama Shakes, Chairlift, the Dunwells, B.o.B., J.J. Grey and Mofro, and Paper Diamond.

By the time the music was back on, the crowd had thinned only a little; most people seemed to stick out the storm. Though the fields had deteriorated quite a bit — a number of people standing in front during the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ set were in ankle-deep water).

Still, the resilience of the crowd (and the cooler temperatures post-storm) definitely played into both of Saturday night’s headliners. READ FULL STORY

On the scene at Lollapalooza Friday: The Black Keys and Black Sabbath deal in different kinds of darkness

By Kyle Anderson & Nolan Feeney

On the opening day of Lollapalooza 2012 in Chicago, people could only talk about two things: The oppressive heat (which isn’t really news for anyone who has ever spent three days repeatedly crossing Grant Park in August), and whether or not Black Sabbath was going to make everybody sad.

Obviously, the idea of the legendary metal band playing a nearly two-hour set of heavy classics was titillating, and frontman Ozzy Osbourne remains one of the most unpredictable characters in rock. But health problems for both Osbourne and Tony Iommi have called into question whether or not this particular Sabbath reunion was a good idea, and suggested that the band might be better served staying at home (which is exactly what drummer Bill Ward ended up doing anyway).

By the time they left the stage on Friday night, they delivered no definitive answers. The set list was unimpeachable —  hitting on everything you could possibly want to hear from them, including “Iron Man,” “War Pigs,” “Sweet Leaf,” “N.I.B.,” and “Paranoid” (which they wisely saved for the encore). Ozzy still has the will of a manic frontman, but neither his body nor his voice seem to be able to match his intent, and he seemed vaguely off for the better part of the evening.

Iommi’s steady riffing carried the night, though the set ground to an unfortunate halt during an overlong drum solo (though honestly, there’s no such thing as an “appropriate length drum solo”) that saw a lot of people trying to beat the traffic home.

Still, for those who stuck around, the rest provided by the rhythmic interlude might have been just what the other members of the band needed, as the band’s finishing run (which included the awesome and deeply underrated Technical Ecstasy gem “Dirty Women”) was as strong as any modern metal act. Were they good? Sure. Should they keep going? The jury is still out.

On the other end of the park, the Black Keys were offering up no such existential quandaries. READ FULL STORY

Afghan Whigs live in New York City -- still dark and dangerous at their first show in 13 years

When I first joined Entertainment Weekly a little over a year ago, the deputy managing editor asked me who my favorite songwriter was. I answered unequivocally: Greg Dulli, the seedy mastermind behind great 21st-century soul-scuzz combos Twilight Singers and the Gutter Twins. While Dulli has rarely put out anything I didn’t like, my adoration for him begins with the Afghan Whigs, the Cincinnati-bred combo who released a half dozen albums’ worth of cocksure R&B for the alt-rock era.

The band parted ways in 1999, but last night at New York’s Bowery Ballroom, they returned. (The Whigs were supposed to make their grand reunion at the Dulli-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in New Jersey this September, but considering the band’s last show was at the now-defunct New York club Hush, Dulli wanted to start the band right where they left off over a decade ago.) READ FULL STORY

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