Sex On Fire Cover- Beyoncé

The fact that I’m just seeing this and it is from 2011 is devastating.

Update: This is like actual witchcraft/ created using magical forces not found in humans. I don’t understand.

Let’s Talk About: Winter Meltdown

In a spur of the moment adventure this past weekend, I attended the Winter Meltdown concert hosted by 98x FM in Norfolk, Virginia. This is an annual concert hosted at the Ted Constant Convocation center on the campus of Old Dominion University. I had never previously been, but the stars aligned for me as I happened to be in the right place at the right time. By that, I mean that my sister was in Virginia this weekend, giving me reason to head down and visit. That and the fact that the lineup included some very important musicians that I was not willing to miss.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetBANKS: BANKS served as the first performer of the night. I do not recall if I mentioned this previously, but I feel it is important to note that I was supposed to see BANKS a few months ago, tickets in hand and all, but ended up having to leave last minute and could not attend the show. Since that day I’ve been hoping to see her this summer at a few festivals, but to my surprise and joy, she was playing Winter Meltdown! I was not missing it. Due to the fact that she served as the first act, she was only allotted a fifteen minute set time, which was a bit disappointing, but better than nothing. Vocally, she sounded exactly as she does on Goddess, very soulful and sonically pleasing. However, she appeared very uncomfortable on stage. Throughout her performance I kept liking her to Lorde, in that her actions on stage are very atypical. However, unlike Lorde who has a strange demeanor and owns it, BANKS could not quite seem to work the stage. She rarely spoke and repeatedly walked circles in a very small area. This awkward stage presence did not bother me, but might deter some people from seeing her on more than one occasion. I feel BANKS best approach would be holding intimate concerts where she sits and sings, similar to something Adele might do. The only difficulty with this, though, is that her music is electronic. However, I feel with time comes comfortability and soon BANKS will be a headlining success story.

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 Bleachers: Bleachers performed immediately after BANKS, and what incredible performers they proved to be. I had seen, heard rather, Bleachers at Firefly Festival in Delaware, but was about a million miles away from the stage, sleepy in a hammock. Needless to say, this was a very different experience. If there is one thing that is for certain, it is that Jack Antonoff, lead singer, guitar player, and mastermind of Bleachers, has phenomenal stage presence. Many attendees of the show were there for headliners Neon Trees and Rise Against. Thus, I imagine bands like Bleachers and BANKS were not necessarily fitting with the music they enjoy. Knowing this, Antonoff made every effort to hype up the crowd. He was all over the stage, mouthing things like ‘let’s go’ and ‘what the f***’ at the audience members. This seemed to do it’s job. Near the end of the set, Bleachers performed an incredible cover of “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac and by the time they ended with their hit “I Wanna Get Better,” almost the entirety of the crowd had been won over, or at least appeased. Not to mention, the band that stood beside Antonoff were extraordinarily talented. To emphasize percussion, their were two drummers on separate kits, something that is extremely unusual and immensely intriguing. The band also consisted of a key/ saxophone player and another band member who was a jack of all trades, switching from guitar, to keys, to bass. He kept on going even when his string broke. Well played, sir. ALSO, bonus that he plays a rad Rickenbacker bass, very similar to Jenny Lee Lindberg of Warpaint, WOOP. The things I notice because I’m a music nerd.

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HAIM: Ahhhh, yaas. HAIM are just extraordinarily talented. What you expect going into one of their shows is exactly what you get. I’ve seen them twice now, the first was early in the year when they had just started their headlining North American shows for the year. At Winter Meltdown they announced they had been touring their album, Days Are Gone for two and  half years and that Winter Meltdown was their last show for the album. Good for them, they deserve a very long break! Due to the fact that their set was shorter, they did not play all of their songs. The setlist included: Forever, Falling, Don’t Save Me, The Wire, Let Me Go, and a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well (it was a big day for Fleetwood Mac). Despite presumed exhaustion, Este, Danielle, and Alana still give it their all. They seemed to be taking some musical liberties as it was their last show. Danielle altered some of her riffs very slightly, which I really enjoyed. PLUS, she got a new Gibson SG, which in case you were wondering is my favorite guitar ever created, besides Fender Strats, so I was a little overwhelmed. Even the Rise Against attendees were talking about how well HAIM could play by the end of their set. Mission Accomplished.

A+ for the day.

Lana Del Rey New Song & Tour

In an overwhelming onslaught of Lana Del Rey-ness, here is a clip of Lana’s new song “Big Eyes” which is featured in the trailer for Tim Burton’s new biopic of the same name. ALSO, Lana has announced tour dates for this summer (yaas, yaas) AND for the first eight dates, Courtney Love will open. GASP.

(Glad to see there are no hard feelings over the “dying young” comment from earlier in the year. Click here if you do not understand the reference)

Click here for the song!

[In what has to be the most random selection of tour dates ever:]

05/07 The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion*
05/09 Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion*
05/12 Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre*
05/14 Phoenix, AZ @ Ak-Chin Pavilion*
05/16 Chula Vista, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheater*
05/18 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl*
05/20 Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre*
05/22 Ridgefield, WA @ Sleep Country Amphitheater*
05/28 Noblesville, IN @ Klipsch Music Center %
05/30 Tinley Park, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre %
05/31 Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre %
06/03 Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre %
06/04 Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre %
06/11 Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live %
06/13 Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion %
06/14 Atlanta, GA @ Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood %
06/16 West Palm Beach, FL @ Cruzan Amphitheater %

* Courtney Love
% To be announced

Stevie Nicks Dedicates Landslide to HAIM 11/29/14

“It was written in 1973, and it has followed Lindsey and I around like a ragged, black cat that you love but it never goes away; it just stays. But it means something, and tonight it means something really special. Um, maybe once or twice, maybe twice in my lifetime I have met a group of other singers, artists, songwriters that I have thought were going to be a major force in rock and roll. And tonight the ladies Haim are here – Alana, Este and Danielle. And I have to say, because I love sharing stuff with the audience about other people that I love –

Um, we’ve been on the road for 27 shows and I play their record every day; I love it. It gives me answers, it gives me advice, it wraps its wings around me and it tells me everything will be okay, and I have such respect for them, and I have such respect for who they are and how they play music and how they put their music together, and it just blows my mind. So, girls, never stop. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. Don’t stop. Keep doing what you’re doing because you’re important to this world. So, ladies and gentlemen, this song is for Haim. This is Landslide.”

The feels.

Let’s Talk About: Blake Mills In Concert

   IMG_0953The experience of a Blake Mills concert is something that cannot easily be described. Despite my best efforts, I will never be able to properly convey what seeing Blake Mills live entailed.

A few years ago, I attended a concert at the World Cafe Live Upstairs in Philadelphia. If you have not had the chance to see a concert there, I suggest you put in your best effort to get there at some point. The venue encompasses all the qualities of being intimate and relaxed, yet is a powerful and acoustically impressive venue. However, the show room Downstairs at World Cafe is something I had not experienced until a few nights ago. From this point on the Downstairs will serve as my venue of preference. The room is slightly larger and more spacious than the upstairs, but still retains an intimate, friendly feeling. It feels similar to the small, dining establishments that line the streets of New York City. It presented the perfect stage for an incredible night.

yMusic, a six piece ensemble served as the opening act. In and of itself, their performance would have been enough. Violinist Rob Moose provided strings for Blake Mills’ newest album Heigh Ho, and has also performed with many other artists including St. Vincent, Bon Iver, and the Punch Brothers. The group melded violin, viola, cello, clarinet/bass clarinet, flute/piccolo, and trumpet to capture both modern and classical sounds alike. One particular piece, “Music In Circles” sounded eerily similar to the sounds introduced by trailblazing composers like Philip Glass and Steve Reich. It was euphonious. It was movingly beautiful.

When Blake Mills finally came onstage, I was surprised by his introverted demeanor. I was not expecting an overly talkative and outgoing performer, but I also was not expecting him to seem so shy and humble. Accompanied by his four piece band, he immediately jumped into “If I’m Unworthy” from Heigh Ho and continued into “Hey Lover” from his debut album Break Mirrors. His passion was apparent, but his talent was overwhelming. An unexpected surprise was Blake straying off course down  paths of improvisation and elongated guitar riffs. He appeared to just allow the music to overtake him. I felt I was witnessing a private momentIt was absolutely fascinating and captivating to see such talent and such love for music pour from one individual. Going into the show, I was aware of all the praise Blake has received over the past few years. He has been highly sought after as an in-studio guitarist for artists including Neil Diamond and has been likened to and praised by Eric Clapton. After witnessing him play in person, I realize none of those words even came close to accurately capturing his abilities and talent. I must also applaud his band, for improvising along with him, always closely watching for a slight nod of the head, indicating a wrap-up of a brilliant tangent.

IMG_0939About midway through the show Blake welcomed Fiona Apple to join him for three songs. Blake and Fiona toured together this past year, but it was an incredible surprise to have her come out for this show. Together they sang “Seven” and “Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me,” both songs were recorded with Fiona sharing vocals. Their vocal blending was spectacular. Somehow they were able to make two very powerful and unique voices meld together to form one mellifluous cross-harmony. In yoga pants, a t-shirt, and a sleeveless zip-up, there was something extremely endearing about Fiona Apple, and something extraordinarily charming about Blake and Fiona together. What was the most intriguing throughout the evening was seeing the way everyone who walked on the stage stared at Blake in undoubted admiration. They were enchanted by him. Fiona, his drummer, his keyboardist, all followed his fingers rushing up and down the frets of his guitar with such concentration.

Later on in the show, yMusic came back onstage to accompany Blake on “Three Weeks In Havana.” The blend of orchestral voices, guitar, heavy percussion, keys, steady bass, and Blake’s vocals were nothing short of perfect. On occasion he would take a long enough pause in between songs to show his appreciation. On several occasions he referenced how the only people who come to his shows are other musicians and how much he appreciated the support of his band. It was really, really special.IMG_0942

It is hard to think that the night could get any better, but in a complete surprise, Blake welcomed Jackson Browne to the stage. Blake relayed a story that at his high school graduation, he had performed “These Days.”.  Jackson Browne and Blake then went on to perform the hit. It appeared a  last minute encounter. Blake explained that Rob, the violinist, created a string piece for “These Days” in the few hours between sound check and the show. It was also Jackson Browne’s birthday, but I think the ones celebrating were the shocked and elated audience members. For younger readers, if you are unaware of Jackson Browne , please look him up ( I suggest “Stay” or “Running on Empty”). He has sold over eighteen million albums in the U.S. and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He truly is iconic and this performance was one of a kind.

The concert, which lasted over two hours, flew by in what seemed like two minutes.A perfect evening. If I could, I would watch it all over again.