Backstage at the Great Hangover Tour here in New York City was like two different worlds brought together care of Asher Roth and Kid Cudi.
My MTVNews producer Steven and I arrived early to grab the only interview with the two young MCs side-by-side an hour before they performed in front of a sold-out crowd at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square. As we walked backstage, it was a lot more mellow that what you might expect from a tour with the title the Great Hangover — a name conjured up by one Mr. Kanye West.
As I walked into his dressing room, Cudi was holding court surrounded by a crew of people. I didn't hear what he was saying but he had everyone's attention. Then mid-sentence he saw us and immediately came over to make us feel welcome. I think his opening words were actually "Yo Tim, you want a shot?" Read More...
The Virgin Mobile Festivals has been remade into the Virgin Mobile FreeFest, a one day event on August 30 that will feature the reunited Blink-182, Weezer, Public Enemy and Taking Back Sunday. In previous years, the festival had been held at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore (site of the annual Preakness Stakes horse race), but this year's moves to the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. The show will be free to the 35,000 people who want to claim tickets (Ticketmaster has even agreed to waive their service fee for fans picking them up at the venue or at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.). The event will be paid for by Virgin and key sponsors, like Kyocera.
This isn't the first time an established festival has gone from costly to free. Ozzfest famously gave away its touring show in 2007, which was panned for having a lackluster lineup (Ozzy, Lamb of God and Static-X were headliners) and trouble with ticket distribution. Virgin Mobile FreeFest likely won't have the same sort of problems, as it's a one-day event featuring one of the hottest reunion acts of the summer. The new venue is a step up as well, as Pimilico was a terrible facility that usually turned into a mud pit at the very suggestion of rain.
There was a lot of hand-wringing about the festival season this year, as promoters were worried that fans wouldn't have enough disposable income to invest in tickets and travel, but so far the big-name events like Bonnaroo and Coachella have still done good business. That's not to say that everything has gone off without a hitch, as smaller local festivals have seen sluggish sales.
Tickets will be available this Saturday (though if you went to last year's festival, you've got the opportunity to claim a ticket starting tomorrow). Virgin shouldn't have any trouble filling the building, especially considering the lineup is so eclectic (with indie favorites like the National and St. Vincent filling out the lineup that also features rapper Wale and legendary DJ Pete Tong).
By Jett Wells
Make no mistake about it: HEALTH, the Los Angeles noise-rock quartet, are utterly insane in concert. But it's an artfully-crafted brand of insane. On stage, they send out torrents of explosive, violent sound that leaves you numb and foggy-headed and soaked in liters of your own sweat. Those were my first few thoughts during their Saturday (June 20) night assault at Brooklyn art-dive the Market Hotel. Then I hit on another: John Famiglietti is the most dynamic and ferocious bassist in indie rock right now.
Here's why: Minutes before kicking off the show, Famiglietti stepped up to the front of the Market Hotel's tiny, construction-paper covered stage, strapped on his long, red electric bass and plugged in his plethora of effect pedals. How many pedals could a bassist possibly need? Apparently Famiglietti needed a lot, and only moments later it was clear why.
By Ayana Allen
You would have hoped that the combination of performers from island nations and the availability of copious amounts of jerk chicken would keep the rain from falling on the Floyd Bennet Field in Brooklyn, site of the 2nd annual Brooklyn Music Festival. The weather threatened early, but as the night wore on the clouds were beaten back.
Though sunshine was at a premium, heat was not. Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Serani, Bounty Killer and Mavado each brought their own personal fire to a dynamic day of music. While Beenie Man and Bounty Killer are veterans, Serani and Mavado are two up-and-coming dancehall artists moving quickly into the mainstream scene. Serani, the Kingston-born singer, has produced hits for Sean Paul but is more recently known for his big hit, "No Games." He smooth serenades for the ladies were juxtaposed with the intensity of Mavado.
When Mavado's catchphrase "Anywayyy!" boomed over the PA, fences rattled, flags from all Caribbean countries waved violently and fans roared with approval. Mavado has been gaining traction in the dancehall community, winning awards and recording tracks with prominent rappers like Jay-Z. He has been gradually developing his performance chops as well, as evidenced by his run through "So Special" at BET's "Rip the Runway" 2009.
Beenie Man took a second to wish all the fathers present a happy Father's Day before taking us back a decade by performing his 1995 throwback "Slam." Elephant Man had the biggest fan-friendly moment of the festival: He called up a young boy on stage for a dance-off. The kid got down to recent burners "Nuh Linga" and "Gully Creepa," and Elephant Man was so impressed that he awarded the kid his own rhinestone-studded jacket. He certainly went home happy, but even those revelers who didn't walk away with free swag walked away satisfied by the performances and thrilled with the direction the music is headed.
By Daniela Capistrano
Last night, Sasha Fierce made her triumphant return to the States with a performance at Madison Square Garden in New York. By now you've already heard about Beyoncé's insanely talented, guitar slinging all-female band for this tour, her Brüno-inspired (and more gracefully executed) acrobatics and the appearance by hubby Jay-Z during last night's opening number, "Crazy in Love."
I know, I know — "Yawn! What else happened?"
Luckily, I'm a fan with an eye for details, so I've done my best to extract five highlights you might have missed from over two hours of mind-blowing Beyoncé-ness.
» The Fierce Fashion: Audiences have French artist and designer Thierry Mugler to thank for the stylish singer's tour wardrobe. His designs embrace the two personas on stage: Beyoncé's Bottecelli goddess and the leather-clad glamazon Sasha Fierce. I counted no less than ten costume changes, none of which interfered with B's complex dance routines.
By Haley Murphy
After performing last week on "Good Morning America" and appearing on "Larry King Live" late last night, the Jonas Brothers were at it again early this morning on "Today" to kick off the show's Summer Concert Series and celebrate Nick's recent graduation. Thousands of fans — some of whom waited for two days (in the rain!) — stood outside the studio to get a spot to see the JoBros play live.
I ran into their manager Johnny Wright (who also managed *NSYNC and Britney Spears, among others), and he said that nearly 6,000 people had shown up. The boys looked flawless as usual in their tight pants and sunglasses and were jumping all over the stage despite their early soundcheck at 6:45 this morning! In the middle of the performing their hit "Love Bug," Joe Jonas left the stage to sing for the hundreds of fans lined up around the block. I thought I was going to be killed by a group of 10-year-olds while the boys sang a mere foot away from me.
The JoBros wooed the crowd with "Burnin' Up," and one adoring fan nearly passed out when Nick touched her hand. I made a few friends during the concert, and it was my luck that in the middle of the show, they were chosen to visit the band's dressing room to take some pictures! I tagged along and got the inside scoop on what the JoBros were like up close and personal. Best of all, I got to have my picture taken with them!
(Click for more photos from the Jonas Brothers' performance on "Today" in New York!)
While waiting outside the dressing room, my new friends were taking deep breaths and preparing to win over the boys' hearts. When the moment came for them to meet the JoBros, it was all too quick, but they left the show saying it was "the best day of their lives."
Perry Farrell does it to us every year. Yes, his brainchild Lollapalooza is one of the best rock deals for the money every summer, with more than 100 bands playing right on the Chicago lakefront in beautiful Grant Park. But whoever maps out the schedule grid must be a masochist, because this year's lineup has more than its share of conflicts that are going to force some serious musical Sophie's choices. I have already begun stewing over the ones that are trying to break my heart.
Friday is not so bad. Yes, I'd like to see White Lies, but I'll probably choose Jersey punk outfit the Gaslight Anthem. And as much as I've always wanted to check out nutso electronic duo Crystal Castles, by evening I'll probably need to be soothed by the dulcet tones of Fleet Foxes. The headliner spot is an easy one for me, since I just caught Kings of Leon but haven't seen Depeche Mode in six years, and I know their show will have a bit more flash than the Followill brothers' more straight-ahead set.
Revelers at the Bacardi B-Live concert at the M2 Ultra Lounge got a surprise twist of Matt and Kim late last night.
Over 1,500 people were sipping on Bacardi and Coke cocktails and grooving to tunes provided by A-Trak, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Drop the Lime, DJ AM and AutoErotique when Matt and Kim hopped on stage unexpectedly. Matt and Kim are touring with the Bacardi B-Live tour, but they were left off of last night's lineup and kept a secret.
There were some cheers in the crowd, but the audience mostly seemed stunned and confused once they started playing. The band played the first real instruments the crowd had heard all night, and the fans clearly weren't ready for it.
Kim Schifino was all smiles though, and kept the energy going by standing on her drum kit and dancing in between songs. Matt Johnson handed her the microphone near the end of the set and immediately regretted it.
"Boys, you're probably going to catch something in here," Kim said. "Just go with it."
They wrapped up the raucous night with their latest single "Daylight," which also happens to be the tune used in the newest Bacardi commercial.
I can't lie: I went into Friday night's Wilco show at the Aronoff Theater in Cincinnati thinking that it might be the last time I saw the band. See, I've been following leader Jeff Tweedy and his rotating cast of band members for nearly 15 years — ever since I saw Tweedy play some of the early Wilco material solo acoustic in 1995 at Lounge Ax, the now-shuttered Chicago rock bar co-owned by his wife. I loved every twist and turn of their musical journey, from the countrypolitan sound of their 1995 debut A.M. through the power-pop evolution of the two-disc Being There, the urban poetry of Summerteeth and the experimental genius of 2002's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
And then, well, I began to lose the thread a bit. I liked 2004's A Ghost is Born all right, but by 2007's Sky Blue Sky it felt like the band had zigged into a direction I wasn't that into: a kind of A.M. radio, slightly Grateful Dead-like riffola that just wasn't my thing. The last time I saw the group, it felt at times like I had slipped into a Dark Star Orchestra show by mistake. I had never missed one of their tour cycles before, but I skipped out the previous time they came through town.
I learned the error of my ways on Friday night, when the group — which at this point has maintained its most consistent line-up since formation — won me all the way back over and then some with a set that made me immediately go back to Ghost and Sky and give them another try.
Unwrapping a handful of tunes from their new self-titled album, the band straight-up killed it, playing to a packed house of 2,700 who sang along to nearly every lyric and jam danced (I'm looking at you, dude in the balcony box seat) as if the ghost of Jerry Garcia himself was on stage.
By Selina Kaye
While the Black Eyed Peas were dancing on "Today", the Jonas Brothers spent the wee hours of the morning a few blocks north on "Good Morning America." Just a handful of hours after their secret New York show, the JoBros greeted hundreds of screaming tweens at the Rumsey Playfield in Central Park for runs through new hits "Poison Ivy" and "Paranoid." Both songs are off their new album Lines, Vines & Trying Times, which they say was heavily inspired by ... Neil Diamond?
Though the band performed extremely well, it was not without some technical glitches. Poor Kevin Jonas only got the microphone once all morning, and when he did, it wasn't working. His explanation of the album title was garbled but he did manage to explain that, "This is a hopeful record."
After the concert ended, the fans got a bonus bit of excitement when they noticed "Camp Rock" starlet Alyson Stoner leaving the backstage area. She was quickly bombarded by eager fans asking for pictures and autographs.