55th GRAMMY Awards - Best New Artist Nominees!
If you have listened to Gotye’s smash hit “Somebody That I Used To Know,” then you may be familiar with New Zealand native Kimbra Johnson, who sung as the powerful female lead. Now, Kimbra is ready to make a name for herself in the states by going on her first headlining US tour to promote her release of her debut album, “Vows.”
If you have heard Gotye’s smash hit “Somebody That I Used To Know,” then you may be familiar with New Zealand native Kimbra Johnson, who contributes the powerful female lead vocal. Now, Kimbra is making a name for herself by headlining her first U.S. tour to promote her debut album, Vows.
Outside the Metro on Oct. 17, fans patiently waited in the pouring Chicago rain for the doors to open. The Metro is one of Chicago’s premiere underground venues and is credited for helping to launch the careers of Chicagoans Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins and Veruca Salt.
Kimbra bounced onstage wearing an eclectic purple-and-green costume reminiscent of both Miss Chiquita and a fairy-tale princess. Her full grass skirt moved feverishly as she danced, creating incredible energy for the crowd to feed off. Kimbra smiled brightly as she sang “Limbo,” an upbeat jam built from various vocal loops. Inspired by the looping techniques of Björk and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Kimbra utilized her voice as an instrument to create soulful harmonies and percussive accents. The audience became part of the performance as they clapped along to the beat.
Besides her eclectic influences, you cannot help but notice her sultry tone and jazzy phrasing in her voice. Kimbra showcased her soulful talents during a cover of Nina Simone’s “Plain Gold Ring,” which is built on soulful looped harmonies. However, Kimbra wouldn’t have been able to do her skillfully timed loops without her amazing backing band whom were consistent and energetic throughout the night.
While Kimbra’s influences are eclectic, I couldn’t help but particularly notice the sultry, jazzy phrasing in her voice. These soulful talents were showcased during a cover of Nina Simone’s “Plain Gold Ring.” When she wasn’t captivating the audience between songs with her sweet personality and infectious accent, Kimbra was moving around the stage with a natural sense of control and sex appeal. It very much reminded me of the stage prowess exhibited by Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.
Once Kimbra left the stage, the crowd went ear-piercingly wild for an encore. The singer obliged with the ballad “Withdraw” and the soulful funk jam “Call Me,” the latter of which featured the Stepkids, who opened the concert earlier that evening with their indie funk tunes and psychedelic visuals.
At 22, Kimbra is not your typical pop star. She doesn’t use choreography or pyrotechnics to enhance her performance, and she doesn’t need them. I am really looking forward to seeing how she develops as an artist throughout her career. I also would not be surprised if she gets nominated for a GRAMMY award with Gotye in February. Kimbra has immense potential to become a megastar act with the skills to match. With a voice that is way beyond her years, Kimbra’s future appears bright.
The Set List
Plain Gold Ring (Nina Simone Cover)
Two Way Street
Something In The Way You Are
Come Into My Head
You can see my review on GRAMMY.com at: http://www.grammy.com/blogs/kimbra-at-metro-chicago
Preview Adele’s James Bond Skyfall Theme Song
The James Bond franchise has been a staple of the UK film scene for decades, with the role being thought of as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s not only the role of James Bond himself that garners so much attention, but the unique theme songs associated with each film in the franchise as well. Jack White has done it. So has Duran Duran. Hell, even Sir Paul McCartney put his talents into the theme for Live and Let Die. After months of speculation, it has been confirmed that Adele will join the esteemed ranks of those artists. The songstress wrote the theme for Skyfall with the help of Paul Epstein, which was performed and recorded with a 77-piece orchestra at Abbey Road Studio in London. Here’s what Adele said of the song:
I was a little hesitant at first to be involved with the theme song for Skyfall. There’s a lot of instant spotlight and pressure when it comes to a Bond song. But I fell in love with the script and Paul had some great ideas for the track and it ended up being a bit of a no brainer to do it in the end. It was also a lot of fun writing to a brief, something I’ve never done which made it exciting. When we recorded the strings, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. I’ll be back combing my hair when I’m 60 telling people I was a Bond girl back in the day I’m sure!”
The full song will premiere at 0:07 BST on Friday, October 5th (7:07 EST on October 4th), which marks the 50-year anniversary of the film franchise. Below, you can hear a 90-second snippet of the song, as well as a trailer for the upcoming movie.
Skyfall hits theatres on October 26th in the UK and November 9th in North America.
Our new cover story on the making of Adele’s 2011 masterpiece 21 reveals why she scrapped most of Rick Rubin’s production from the final album.
“The album should have been done – but it wasn’t, at least in Adele’s mind. Listening to the Rubin tracks, she felt something was missing: the exposed-nerve emotional edge heard in the early versions of ‘Rolling in the Deep,’ ‘Someone Like You,’ ‘Rumour Has It’ and ‘Set Fire to the Rain.’”
You can read an excerpt of the story on RollingStone.com and the full story in the new issue, on stands today.
“It’s a Friday night in Chicago,” lead singer Kele Okereke teasingly states to a packed Riviera theater. Influenced by punk band Joy Division and the dance beats of Depeche Mode, Bloc Party has been one of the most popular bands to come out from the early 2000s wave of British alternative rock which included other notable bands such as The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand. The music has the rawness of British punk with a blend of infectious catchy dance beats. After the band took a hiatus in 2009, there were many rumors stating the band broke up for good as Okereke launched his own solo career which failed to take off. When Lollapalooza announced their 2012 summer lineup in April, Bloc Party announced their return and was one of the most anticipated sets to see among festival-goers. Unfortunately due to the rainstorm and evacuation, there was fear that Bloc Party’s awaited set time would get cancelled. Okereke was nervous for this gig because their previous performance in 2005 at the festival “wasn’t that great.” Luckily, fans returned back to the festival after the storm and packed the Sony stage as they celebrated the band’s return.
A month later, Bloc Party returned to Chicago for their official American tour to promote their new fourth album “ingeniously” named “Four.” The set was opened up by a track called “So He Begins To Lie,” a heavy upbeat rock song that is reminiscent of Box Car Racer’s “Tiny Voices.” Long-time Bloc Party fans cheered in excitement when they heard the opening riff for “Hunting for Witches” from their 2007 album A Weekend In The City. Okereke had amazing showmanship as he interacted and charmed the crowd with his British accent throughout the night. “What is up with these glow sticks?” he asked as he picked up a pink neon glow stick a fan tossed on stage. During one of the songs, drummer Matt Tong’s ear monitors weren’t working properly as he put a halt to the set. Okereke upheld his leadership position as he persisted to continue with the show, “C’mon the show must go on,” and began immediately on his command. He dedicated a song for a fan for breaking her “concert cherry.” “I wish this next one was sweet, but unfortunately it’s going to be a rough one,” he joked to the crowd. “Man…we still got it!”
The first half of the set was filled with new tunes off the album. Any old time Bloc Party fans were getting ancy to hear past singles and older material as they continued to shout requests in between songs. After the first encore, Bloc Party finally gave the crowd what they wanted as they played their first single “Banquet” from their 2005 critically acclaimed album Silent Alarm. The Riviera turned into a huge dance party that required no DJ or dubstep bass drops as the theatre danced to the indie dance riffs that made them fall in love with Bloc Party in the first place. Pumped after dancing, the crowd-surfers began to pop up during “This Modern Love,” which made Okereke grin because it’s not really an intense song to crowd-surf to, but either way it pleased the lead singer. The band led into their second encore by opening up with the first half of Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and transitioned into “Flux.” They closed their show with their final hit “Helicopter,” which garnered major popularity for being featured in Guitar Hero II. There was a little hiccup between the second verse going into the pre-chorus, but Okereke smiled and re-sang the line again as he smiled at his other band members for recovering from their mistake.
I can honestly say, Bloc Party’s show has been one of the best concerts I’ve been to. The energy was amazing from both the crowd and the band. Bloc Party’s laidback and approachable personality shows that even with years of success, they are still the same down-to earth blokes from London who hang out at the pubs – which so happen to play the world’s biggest festivals.
So He Begins To Lie
Hunting For Witches
Song For Clay
We Are Not Good People
This Modern Love
If you weren’t at The United Center last night, you were missing out on one of the biggest celebrations of the night as Madonna performed her first show for her 2 nights in Chicago. Right when you entered stadium, there was neon, leather, lace, heavy eyeliner and 6 inch in heels scattered about everywhere. The crowds of people were diverse: women, men, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, transgendered, young and old. All of whom which were both reliving the good ol’ days of their adolescence in the 80s and were ready to dance the night away. How does a woman of 54 continue to stay relevant to many generations and gives the Gagas and Perrys a run for their money? Well, because she “is the queen – bitch,” according to Nicki Minaj.
The MDNA tour is an artpop performance shock show that encompasses the “journey of a soul from darkness to light.” Fans will see the many characters that Madonna has created to reinvent herself that has allowed her to stay relevant to new generations. This tactic of rebranding through characterizations is seen frequently in today’s pop stars, from Britney, Gaga, Perry and Minaj. There has been a long going debate about how Gaga’s thematic choices are copies of Madonna. After seeing this show, you will definitely see points of references that are indeed copied from Madonna: the pyrotechnic corsets has been redone by Gaga and Katy Perry, the rebranding sadomasochistic style of Rihanna and religious church themes from Gaga and Minaj. So what does Madonna think of all this? “Imitation is the biggest form of flattery.”
What makes Madonna different from the other pop artists is that she has messages behind her artistic choices even if they can be complex to understand at times. She is also highly technical and thinks every minor detail through. From the costume changes, visuals, light shows, choreography, to how the set list transitions – every intricacy and movement has a purpose. Now, the tickets for her show are anything but affordable – but the high quality of the production is quite phenomenal. Madonna has noticed the trend of our heavily embedded technological age and utilizes it to her full advantage by creating visually stimulating images and video montages on three expansive LED screens that allow the audience to emerge into her artistic realm – which can be quite eerie at times. She also used product placement in her show when dancing with the popular Beats by Dre headphones as props during a choreography segment.
The show opened up with a crucifix and an electrified church with Madonna’s voice over chanting, “Oh My God” in a sultry voice that Gaga imitates. Dancers emerged as priests in robes and gargoyle statues. Madonna is behind a white screen praying and busts through the screen as the LED screens crash. Madonna then transitions into dominatrix with a tight leather outfit and prances around the stage with a fake revolver like she’s in an Angelina Jolie action flick while singing that she’s a “Girl Gone Wild.” Her dark period becomes morbid as she enters a Motel prop set and sings her explicit lyrics about how she murdered her lover. The LED screens show a rearview of a car driving frantically through the woods to bury the dead body. As Madonna sings “Bang! Bang!” while fake shooting her dancer, the LED screens display the blood of her lover spurted across the screen with gushed body parts. It’s brilliantly grotesque and makes you feel quite uncomfortable. What the hell is going on?! Is this a Marilyn Manson show?
She lightens up the mood in “Give Me All Your Luvin” with an upbeat dance number that is reminiscent of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.” There are bold visuals of color, vibrant band costumes and drum marchers that play hanging from the ceiling as Madonna prances around as the bandleader followed by her cheerleaders.
Another highlight of the night included Madonna singing a mashup of “Express Yourself” and “Born This Way.” Afterwards she talked to the crowd about how we all need to treat each other with “respect and dignity.” “You don’t need to be Oprah to change the world, you don’t need to be me, just be you!” she preached to the arena. She continued, “and if you want to change the world, Don’t vote for Mitt Romney!” The Chicagoans cheered as they supported their former senator.
Fans come for the hits and unfortunately she didn’t give it to them. Instead, she did a video montage that mashed up all of her music videos. She did a carefree performance of Holiday while strumming inaudible chords on her guitar and also performed a dramatic ballad version of “Like A Virgin” which proceeded in her stripping her clothes off in true Madonna fashion. The Queen culiminated her journey through spiritual Basque music, a gospel choir during “Like A Prayer,” and ended in a “Celebration.” Madonna has paved the way for female pop artists and has pushed the envelope for female artists to create avant garde and controversial art that is considered risqué for women to portray in our society. Madonna is a girl gone wild and she’s not changing for anyone.
Opening Prayer /Girl Gone Wild
Papa Don’t Preach
I Don’t Give A
Best Friend / Heartbeat (Interlude)
Express Yourself / Born This Way
Give Me All Your Luvin’
Turn Up the Radio
Open Your Heart
Justify My Love (Interlude)
Human Nature / Erotica
Like a Virgin
Nobody Knows Me (Interlude)
I’m a Sinner
Like a Prayer
Interesting situation…Adam puts in his will that he doesn’t want Beastie Boys’ music to be used in commercial advertising. However, the other members of the band still have that right to license it because they are authors. But then, Adam’s family gains his rights and can sue the company who uses their music even though the other guys said yes. Jeezes, music business at its finest.
Finally Mumford & Sons have officially announced today the release date of their second album entitled “Babel” with its full tracklist including viral favorites “Ghosts That We Knew” and “Lover’s Eyes.” The album will be released this fall on September 24th as well as a follow up tour.
I don’t know about you guys but I was getting rather impatient. I needed some new Mumford material back into my life. This is definitely going to be one of the most anticipated albums this year.
Hello World! It is with great pleasure that we can now officially announce the release of our second album, Babel. The artwork, track listing and more details can be found on our website.
Thank you for your continued support, it means so much to us… and we are more than excited to share the journey of this next chapter with you!