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Tag: Concert Reviews (41-50 of 150)

Kimbra, Alabama Shakes, Sharon Van Etten highlight Wednesday night at SXSW

Though it sometimes seems like this year’s South by Southwest Festival was designed to tap into ’90s nostalgia (Counting Crows are back, for some reason!) and let rappers relive the glory days (Mystikal and Busta Rhymes on the same bill! 50 Cent performing Get Rich or Die Tryin’ in full!), there are still bona-fide buzz bands filling Austin’s many bars, lounges, restaurants, and music halls with the songs that just may be the cornerstones of mixtapes six months from now.

Kimbra is a perfect example: The New Zealand-born sprite probably best known so far as the guest vocalist on Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” brought an excellent, eclectic mix of dance rhythms, theatrical piano pop, and epic rock.

“Love Is a Two Way Street” let her lace into some dreamy echo-rock harmonies, while “Old Flame” was an intense cabaret-rock burn that ran circles around anything from that Lana Del Rey album. But there’s plenty of jittery funk embedded in her DNA, too—with an album out on May 22, expect one of her songs (perhaps the blissfully danceable “Cameo Love,” which has already seduced millions of YouTube users and EW’s own Valentines Day playlist?) to be a dark horse entry in the Official Song of Summer 2012 Sweepstakes.

In fact, Wednesday night was a terrific showcase all around for strong, singular women. READ FULL STORY

Fiona Apple returns to the stage with new songs at SXSW

It’s been over 15 years since the lovely angst of Fiona Apple’s debut album Tidal swept through the pop world and made her both an instant sensation and a lightning rod (see: this video) for controversy.

Since then the singer has moved in — and more often, out — of the public sphere, weathering both personal heartbreak and professional woe while wending her way to another album with a really long title, due this spring.

Apple has hardly been onstage since she toured for Extraordinary Machine in 2007, making her set at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin, as part of South by Southwest, a pretty high-stakes coming-out party. And accordingly, her early-evening set attracted a massive throng of curious onlookers, most of whom seemed to have a tremendous amount of emotional baggage tied up in Apple’s early work.

So is the old Fiona back for good? READ FULL STORY

Bruce Springsteen honors Clarence Clemons at epic Apollo Theater show -- VIDEO

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took the stage together for their first full concert since the June passing of saxophonist Clarence Clemons, kicking off their Wrecking Ball tour at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater. An exclusive benefit show celebrating 10 years of SiriusXM radio — and raising money for WhyHunger charity — it was the band’s first-ever official performance at the historic venue, and the buzz rippling through the pre-concert happy hour felt more like a big heavyweight title fight downtown at the Garden. There was Elvis Costello and Paul Rudd. There was Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, and there was the entire Tom Hanks clan. Tommy Hilfiger and Harry Belafonte, Pat Riley and Tom Coughlin, Bill Bradley and Brian Williams — you practically couldn’t move without spilling red wine on some famous Friend of Bruce.

“People are going to be talking about this concert for many, many years to come,” announced SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin before the main event officially got under way. But he didn’t get the privilege of introducing the evening’s star. That honor was reserved for the Boss himself, who playfully mimicked James Brown’s entrance from the soul singer’s 1962 show at the Apollo. “Ladies and gentleman, are you ready for showtime?” he intoned, before describing himself as “the hardest working white man in show business.” READ FULL STORY

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.

READ FULL STORY

Lana Del Rey did fine on 'SNL,' says Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey is certainly no “gangster Nancy Sinatra” (or gangster anything, really), but the lady does know how to brush that dirt off her shoulder.

Her album Born to Die finally dropped today, yet many people are still having trouble getting past her much-maligned showing on Saturday Night Live, which 22.53 percent of you thought was SNL‘s worst musical outing of all time. (Ashlee Simpson “won” the poll with 54.85 percent.)

Del Rey, however, has no idea what you’re talking about.

“I actually felt good about it. I thought I looked beautiful and sang fine,” she told Rolling Stone, presumably with a straight face. “It felt OK.”

“The cast and crew said they loved it,” she added. “I know some people didn’t like it, but that’s just the way I perform, and my fans know that.”

READ FULL STORY

On the scene at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, day two: Lady Gaga takes over the show

Leave it to Lady Gaga to co-opt a music festival featuring dozens of top-line pop stars and make it her own.

The Lady appeared on stage as the final performer last night at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and stayed on stage for well over an hour—much longer than any of the other acts. “They told me I was only allowed to play for 45 minutes,” she told the crowd. “But I think you’re all pretty drunk so you probably don’t know what time it is, do you?”

And it’s true: No one was complaining when she served up hit after hit, including “Judas,” “You and I,” “Just Dance,” and “Bad Romance,” which basically blew the roof off the arena.

READ FULL STORY

On the scene at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, day one: Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, and Jay-Z

When you think about it, there’s really only one way to kick off a pop music festival: with the gyrating, electro, pulsing sounds of the Black Eyed Peas, of course.

The foursome opened the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last night with laser lights, a cadre of jailbird-themed backup dancers (in a word: divine), and one of their signature songs, “Boom Boom Pow.”

It’s almost needless to say, but the party-rocking vibe the show’s producers were no doubt hoping for coalesced perfectly, as the crowd spiraled into dancing through songs like “Just Can’t Get Enough,” “Don’t Stop the Party,” “The Time (Dirty Bit),” and the perfect set-ender: “I Gotta Feeling.” (Personally, I was hoping for “Shut Up,” but no one ever seems to be into that song as much as me.)

Of much interest — at least to me — was Fergie’s delightful getup, which included glittery knee-high boots and onesie, and fascinating, gold fingernail/cap things that contributed to her overall drag queen look. She was Vegas to a T! (Then again, she always kind of is.)

The tone was set from the first act: This show was definitely all about the hits, and the 12,000 fans in the audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena seemed to get just what they wanted. From top to bottom, the show was quite the Vegas production with huge screens flanking the stage, more than one confetti blast (the first one came at the almost-still-daylight time of 8:01 p.m., no joke), and, yes, Ryan Seacrest as host.

He first appeared after the Black Eyed Peas left the stage to introduce the show: “This weekend,” he said, in a trademark way that’s both overly dramatic and overly bombastic, “all roads lead to Vegas.” Well, all roads carrying the biggest pop stars, at least. And it was during this interlude that he announced something that made the crowd go completely wild: Lady Gaga—already confirmed to be performing during the festival—would appear on Saturday night with Sting. In two words: Instant death!

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On the scene at Yankee Stadium: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax crank and shred

Over the course of his band’s two-hour set to close out the Big 4 show at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, Metallica frontman James Hetfield repeatedly asked the assembled crowd of over 41,000 headbangers, “Can you feel it?”

He didn’t have to worry; the collective had no trouble feeling it. Or hearing it. In perhaps a grandiose feat of overcompensation for the outdoor venue and the noise from the adjacent subway line, everything was cranked up to 11 from the first note to the last bellow.

Of course, this is metal, which means the louder the better, and while everybody brought their best noise, Metallica reigned supreme above them all. The bands populating the under-card all fared well, with Anthrax picking up points for sheer enthusiasm — most of the members are from New York, they were celebrating the release of their new album, and there was a spry joie de vivre that infiltrated even their thrashiest material, especially on the set-closing “I Am the Law.”

Megadeth primed the crowd for the headliner with some early shout-alongs (the one-two punch of “Symphony of Destruction” and “Peace Sells” was surprisingly anthemic), and Slayer bowling over everybody with a solid hour of ritual eardrum destruction (“Mandatory Suicide” was especially savage).

But then Metallica emerged, and everybody was reminded exactly why they remain one of the biggest bands in the world. Aided by some well-orchestrated pyrotechnics, a healthy dose of theatricality, and a bucketload of massive songs, the members of Metallica spryly navigated the huge stage parked in the outfield and held heavy court. READ FULL STORY

Paramore debuts new song 'Renegade' at New York City concert: Watch it here

What does teen spirit smell like? Well, it has many scents—some pleasant, others not so much.

On a rainy Wednesday night in New York City, scores of damp youngsters piled into Terminal 5 to see punk group Paramore as they celebrated the 15th anniversary of their record label Fueled By Ramen.

In a black sleeveless shirt and pants patching her blazing red hair, lead singer Hayley Williams so sweetly raged the night away. Songs like “That’s What You Get,” “Ignorance,” and an encore of “Misery Business“– where Williams brought up a dirty-blond Pennsylvanian fan to scream the “Oh, it was never my intention to brag” hook– drove the crowd wild.

Mix loud live Paramore tunes with adolescent energy and you get an odor that smells something like a herd of steamy, wet German shepherd puppies.

One cut that particularly made them bark and their shaggy heads bop was a new song they performed. Williams cautiously introduced it.

“This next song, we have never, ever, ever played before. And sometimes this happens and it goes wrong,” she began after changing into a leopard tank top. “I just need you guys to have fun anyways. We’ll be putting this song online for you guys to have as soon as we can, as soon as possible. We’re working on it. It’s called ‘Renegade.’”

Watch them perform it after the jump:

READ FULL STORY

Rock the Bells: Lauryn Hill, Nas, Erykah Badu and more live at NYC's Governors Island

The most well-dressed folks on New York City’s Governors Island last Saturday looked the bummiest. On the balmy last Saturday of the summer, cutoff shorts, tank tops, dirty sneakers and worn-in sandals were among the best things to be wearing for the daylong hip-hop festival that is Rock the Bells.

Elaborate outfits highlighted by fresh tennis shoes, high heels (wedges, too) or anything that gave off a vibe of effort earned more laughs than sartorial appreciation at rap’s lone major fair.

I mean really, how can you appreciate grimy sets from Wu Tang Clan members, Slaughterhouse, and Mobb Deep when you look so, so clean?

Not I, Mixers. In beat up five-year-old Air Jordans, a star spangled tank top (it was Labor Day weekend!), and a pair of shorts, I came to sweat. And from 2pm to midnight, that’s exactly what I did.

My day began with Black Star. The duo featuring Brooklyn rhymers Talib Kweli and Mos Def performed cuts from their 1998 album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star. They also broke away to perform solo hits. Kweli did his uplifting “Get By.” While Mos, dressed like a substitute teacher in his tie and short sleeve white shirt tucked into his jeans, broke out “Umi Says.”

Things continued with Erykah Badu, who ran through 1997’s Baduizm. Eclectically clad in a fedora, blazer, and pants tucked into her knee-high gold boots, she killed with her mellow “On & On.” Between singing and crowd cruising, she even showed off her production chops by hopping on MPC drum pad for some quick beats.

Next up was Lauryn Hill. Surprisingly, she was bumped out of her headlining slot in favor of hometown favorite Nas. Still, she performed as if she was the night’s main draw. The theme of this year’s festival was that each act select one of their several albums to play. The decision was easy for Hill, who notoriously only has one solo studio album.

READ FULL STORY

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