It's hard to believe, but there are actually places that multi-platinum R&B superstar R. Kelly hasn't performed. In fact, he's never been to Africa, though he'll be rectifying that soon. Next Saturday, Kels will close out ARISE Africa Fashion Week with a concert in Johannesburg, South Africa. It will be the first show of a multi-city tour that will also take him through South Africa, into Nigeria and end in London. The show will close out the inaugural ARISE Africa Fashion Awards, which seek to point the spotlight at the explosion of up-and-coming African fashion designers. Kelly said in a statement, "I'm very excited about my first visit to Africa, I've dreamed about this for a long time and its finally here. It will be one of the highlights of not only my career but my life." Kelly is working on a new album, which he hopes to release later this year.
By Haley Murphy
The rain didn't stop Jonas Brothers fans last night, and it wasn't about to get in the way of the Black Eyed Peas' performance on "Today." 7 a.m. is a little early to be doing just about anything, but both the Peas and the hundreds of fans who crowded the street around the show's studio were game. Opening with official 2009 summer jam "Boom Boom Pow," Will.I.Am, Fergie and Taboo threw caution to the wind, busting out dance moves on the runway-style stage despite the wetness (and Fergie's platform heels, no less).
Between songs, Fergie took some time to pose for the cameras and nearly missed the band's interview with Matt Lauer — in fact, a security guard had to escort her away from a gaggle of fawning fans. Will.I.Am explained their second song "I Gotta Feeling" was for all the people who work hard and need to release some stress (apparently the "Today" audience is pretty wound up, as they totally embraced the jumpy, bouncy tune). Will declared their just-released album The E.N.D as the band's best yet, calling it "the start of a new era."
The show closed with a trip to the old school, though, as they wrapped up their appearance with old favorite "Pump It." After the show, Will.I.Am took time to use his camera to video the crowd and poke fun at the press box while Fergie was so committed to shaking hands with fans that she almost ended up crowd surfing. In the end, everybody walked away happy — and relatively dry.
By Christa Ruggerio
I've always thought of myself as a pretty big Jonas Brothers fan, but last night I realized what I call "fandom" doesn't hold a candle to the hard-core JoBros devotees. I was lucky enough to tag along with MTV News' own Jocelyn Vena to see the band play a "secret" show. What I expected was a simple promotional event for the group's new album, but what I saw was something entirely different.
(Click here for more photos from the Jonas Brothers secret New York show)
When we arrived at the venue, we were greeted by hundreds of screaming girls, their moms and about four or five token dudes lined up in the rain to see their beloved Joe, Nick and Kevin. The dedication that these fans showed was amazing. The fact that most of these underage JoBros enthusiasts got their parents to drive some of them hours in the middle of a downpour to see a mini-concert shocked me (I certainly wasn't able to talk my mom into stuff like that). Once the doors opened, the din inside the venue rose quickly, culminating in deafening shrieks once the boys hit the stage. I've screamed my head off at concerts before, but I've never heard excitement like this. It's a wonder anybody was actually able to hear the music.
I've been a fan for quite some time, but this was my first opportunity to see them play in the flesh. To my surprise, they were much better than I anticipated: The brothers danced, sang and strummed their hearts out for over an hour. Their voices actually sound better in person than on their albums, and I loved singing along to the big hits like "S.O.S." and "Lovebug."
The handful of tunes the boys played from their upcoming album, Lines, Vines and Trying Times, were different from most of what they've done in the past, but great nonetheless. The Jonas Brothers definitely earned my respect at this show, and I can now clearly see what all the shrieking is about.
By Daniela Capistrano, photos by Bashira Webb
It felt destined to be an uneventful, summer rain-drenched night this past Friday evening in the trendy Village section of Manhattan. But a few strokes before midnight, DJ Herbert Holler strongly advised the staff at Le Poisson Rouge to wrap up sound check, as a throng of Amanda Blank fans were waiting.
"People are outside getting wet, man" he gently prodded.
While the petite MC wrapped up interviews backstage, DJ Herbert quickly warmed up the crowd with his blend of '80s top 40, hip-hop, house, rock, Motown and soca rhythms. The turnout was notably eclectic: A middle-aged man in a black suit gyrated on a small stage without much notice, while a preppy couple in Converse pogo'd nearby. Across the club, a group of ladies in almost identical jean skirts and flip flops mouthed lyrics to Naughty by Nature.
Though Santigold has been appearing on this tour (in support of Blank's new album I Love You), this show belonged soley to Amanda, and the fans seemed eager to get a taste of her not as a supporting character or hype woman, but as the main act.
By Rya Backer
How do you know when the newly reunited jam band Phish is in your neighborhood? Well, to quote the old saying, just follow your nose.
The Burlington, Vermont, foursome kicked off their summer tour last night at Boston's Fenway Park. In addition to starting their sold-out nationwide trek in a most legendary venue, they also happened to be in a state with newly lax marijuana laws.
Earlier this year, Massachusetts decriminalized the herb to a point. Being caught with under an ounce of the stuff will cost the user a $100 fine, and those under 18 face the same punishment along with community service and a drug-awareness program.
Unless you've never been in the vicinity of any liberal arts college in America, you'll know that the band and weed have a very... symbiotic relationship, so the doling out of fines was in order before, during and after the concert. It's worth noting that the Dave Matthews Band, who also just played in Boston and share a similar reputation, did not garner as much attention from law enforcement.
CBS spoke with some concertgoers before the show (which the band opened with an a cappella rendition of the national anthem from the pitcher's mound) about how the state's new law would affect their experience. "That's fantastic for a lot of people," one proclaimed.
When a reporter asked another fan if he was worried about the fine, he explained, "Oh no, I think it's made everything much better." He furthered his statement with "I think everybody here's going to be smoking pot and going to be loving it. It's their first show back in a long time and we just like to unwind."
Then he presumably walked into the ballpark and unwound some more.
By Kathleen Newman-Bremang
While an all-star amalgamation of pop, rock and hip-hop acts rocked it out onstage at Z100's Zootopia concert on Saturday, in my opinion, the best stuff went down backstage.
The MTV News crew packed into a pretty old-school rental car and headed to the Izod Center in New Jersey for the annual event, which featured appearances by the Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas, Flo Rida, the All American Rejects and Ciara to name a few.
When we arrived backstage at the press tent, I was fully prepared to take on my normal internly duties: help set up our equipment and discreetly stare at the bevy of celebs on the lineup. Little did I know, I'd be asked to do much more.
Tim Kash was busy gearing up for his one-on-one interviews with Kelly Clarkson and Sean Paul (more on those later), while our resident pop writer Jocelyn Vena was focusing on covering the actual concert. Read More...
By Nicole Guanlao and Whitney Benta
Lady Gaga's concert at Terminal 5 in New York on Saturday was quite a spectacle. The "Poker Face" singer went through six costume changes, but three ensembles really stood out in our minds: She donned an outfit made entirely of plastic bubbles while playing on a piano filled with bubble-like balls; she also wore a yellow futuristic dress with pointy shoulder pads, and a Britney Spears "Toxic"-inspired flesh-tone leotard with a police hat.
During the show, Gaga gave a shout-out to her good friend Marc Jacobs. Marc wasn't in the building, but his presence was definitely felt: For Gaga's fifth outfit change, Jacobs created custom Louis Vuitton Graffiti leggings for her dancers, and Gaga rocked a pair of Louis Vuitton stilettos to match. One day we only hope to have friends that design for Louis Vuitton — clearly Lady Gaga is having the time of her life!
Not only can she pull off the craziest styles, but she's quite the performer too. Read More...
David Hasselhoff was at this year's Coachella festival in Indio, California. Although he looks happy and sane, I think there was something going on behind the scenes at the show.
I've got no problem with Dave. In fact, I am all about “Knight Rider” and “Baywatch,” I guess. “America's Got Talent,” eh ... But what really makes me happy is that this dude is a parrrrrrrttttyyyy animal. Remember when he drank his dignity away and showed us how a real man eats a cheeseburger — off the floor? I do. Read More...
By Alex Shapiro
In Hampton, Virginia, this past weekend there was a resurrection. Phish came storming out of retirement in a frenzy of wailing guitar solos and fulfilled dreams.
Once afraid of becoming a nostalgia act, the band sounded like anything but that. Almost a reincarnation of their early years, the band returned to their old stage setup, with each member spread out in a line. As the house lights dropped during their first concert in five years, the crowd noise swelled and then erupted through the ceiling as the band began to play a rare song, so sought-after during the previous decade that it had taken on the lore of a unicorn.
"Fluffhead" — it was not only a beautiful rendition but a statement to fans that cemented Phish's epic return as the rock gods of the jam world. The rest of the weekend saw them play long sets of their most famous material. Playing what would be a "best of" iTunes playlist, Phish crushed any doubts that they might lack the fervent passion they displayed during their formative years. Read More...
By Daniela Capistrano
Despite canceling nine shows on her Rock Witchu Tour due to vestibular migraines, Janet was present and full of energy for her Saturday performance at Madison Square Garden. She left the packed house standing and cheering for more when she closed with her top-five hit "Runaway," but received mixed reactions throughout the night to tracks from her latest album, Discipline.
(Check out more pics from the concert here.)
Although the LP is Janet's least successful album to date (as of September, record sales stood at 415,000 copies in the U.S.), the turnout at Madison Square Garden probably convinced Midtown onlookers otherwise. Hundreds of Janet fans of all ages and backgrounds spilled onto the streets, clutching merchandise and congregating outside the venue as if unwilling to leave, still glowing and chattering excitedly about the show they had just experienced. "Did you see her dancing the entire time?" shouted a middle-age mother to her group of friends, teenage daughters in tow. "It was flawless!" Other fans expressed similar sentiments. "Oh my God, that was hot," a male teen crowed to his similarly well-coiffed associates. “Janet is timeless, right?" Responses to the new album, however, were decidedly mixed. Words used by the crowd to describe her latest release ranged from "pretty good, but not great" to "disappointing." Read More...