He has a radio program on WXOU out of Oakland University
Wild At Heart
It was an interesting week for shows. I managed to go to two shows last week where I prefered the opening bands to the headliners. Manchester Orchestra put on a decent show despite the fact that they don't understand the concept of a encore. After playing for about an hour and fifteen minutes, lead singer Andy Hall just said "we played for almost an hour and a half" and the band just walked offstage and the lights came up despite fans yelling for more. At least do a one song encore if you are doing a short set, esp when the fans are really into it. For me, I took away the sonunds of the Features, an American indie rock band from Tennessee which has a nice upbeat sound that reminds me a bit of Camper Van Beethoven. Then the next night was Matthew Good which just didn't inspire me. Luckily the opener, Automatic Loveletter (formerly Stars And Scars) put on a nice acoustic set with some frantic vocals by Juliet Simms that had me rocking. This weekend I also took in the Saturday Night Taylor Swift show which started by an all too short set by Gloriana which I think is an great up-and-coming country band and then fan favorite Kellie Pickler. Then the lovely Taylor Swift came out strong with the first song and the whole band, including taylor dressed as a high school pep band and cheerleaders. The show had numerous set and wordrobe changes ranging from renaissance influenced wardrobe to a beautiful yellow sundress she wore while walking through the crowd starting from the back of the stands to a small circular stage towards the back. The show ended with Taylor getting drenched in a small rain shower. The best part was the 8 minute fan scream fest where Taylor stood on stage looking like she was going to melt with joy on stage due to the reaction to her by her fans. I almost felt a tear in my eye watching her reaction. I have never seen a artist on stage look as appreciative for her fans that I have with Taylor. You rock girl!! Never thought I would enjoy this show as much as I did.
Taylor has two songs which talk about fairytales which was also the theme of the ballet Sleeping Beauty which played this past weekend. The ballet scenario that Tchaikovsky worked on was based on the Brothers Grimm's version of Perrault's work entitled 'Dornröschen'. In that version, the Princess's parents (the King and the Queen) survived the 100-year sleep to celebrate the Princess's wedding to the Prince. However, Vsevolozhsky incorporated some of Perrault's characters from other stories into the ballet, such as Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood who both looked sexy in their outfits when they danced. I esp liked the White Cat and Puss in Boots doing a very sexy and playful dance as well as dangerous playfullness of the one between Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. I have never been a huge ballet fan but this was a nice, unique show by the Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre which gave me a new appreciation for this form of dance. I can't say enough how much I love seeing productions at the Opera House which is a wonderful venue and a real Detroit treasure. Go to www.motopera.org for a look at their next show, the opera "Don Giovanni" which starts April 10th.
Now, here are a couple of films that have opened this week starting with "Greenberg" by Noah Baumbach whose previous films include "The Squid And The Whale" (one of my favorite films) and "Margot At The Wedding", two films which rely on strong dialogue and subtle storytelling. The film follows Roger Greenberg (Stiller), a 40 year old man who recently lost his job and is housesitting for his successful brother. Suffering from a slight depression, he is having a moment of disconnect from life and decides not too look for a new job and just exist. Through watching his house, Greenberg meets his brother's assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig) who is helping out and inbetween bad relationships herself. Greenberg also catches up with Ivan (Rhys Ifans), a friend he hasn't seen in years and holds an unresolved issue. The film itself, like all of Noah's movies, requires the audience to pay attention and their is some wonderful dialogue, esp a conversation between Greenberg and a bunch a teenagers about how he doesn't want to meet them in a job interview. If you like your films smart and intelligent, this film fits bill. Not as good as his last two but still better than most. My grade is a B.
There has been a big upswing in good animated films from companies other than Disney/Pixar and Miyazaki films in recent years. The latest is DreamWorks "How To Train Your Dragon" which tells the story of a mythical Viking village at the end of the world. This town has a slight pest problem in the name of a variety of dragons which burns their village and steals their food in a neverending battle between man and beast. In this town is a young Viking teenager named "Hiccup" who aspires to follow his tribe's tradition of becoming a dragon slayer though he prefers to use his brains instead of his braun. After capturing his first dragon, and with it his chance at finally gaining the tribe's acceptance, he finds that he no longer has the desire to kill it and instead befriends it. By hanging out with the dragon, he learns techniques to fight dragons without having to use weapons. When his relationship is discovered, the other Vikings capture the dragon and use him to find the fabled isle of dragons despite Hiccup's warning their is a bigger threat than the dragons. In the end of course everything works out but I won't tell you how. This story of a boy and his dragon is not the greatest animated film but it is a very enjoyable film which parents should enjoy as much as their kids. My grade is a B+.
Their is not a whole bunch going on this week as far as concerts but there are some nice shows coming up:
Tuesday (3/30) the crazy Black Lips @ Magic Stick, indie rockers Spoon @ Royal Oak Music Theatre, the strong local band Lettercamp opens for You Say Party! We Say Die! @ Pike Room
Wednesday (3/31) rockers Stone Temple Pilots @ Fillmore
Friday (4/02) blues great The Robert Cray Band @ Sound Board Theater (MotorCity Casino), the bouncy Grace Slick look-a-like Janelle Monáe @ St Andrews Hall, the wonderful local band the Fondas @ Majestic Cafe, the Swamp Sisters open for the Beggars @ Magic Bag, Finnish rockers HIM @ Clutch Cargos (listen to Wild At Heart for interview with lead singer Daniel Lioneye next saturady morning 8-10AM), local folkers Steppin' In It @ the Ark
Saturday (4/03) Japanese psychadelic masters Acid Mother's Temple @ Pike Room, stoners Cheech & Chong @ Michigan Theatre, Super 70's Soul Jam w/ the O'Jays and Stylistics @ Fox Theatre, Four Hour Friends open for Cannon @ Majestic Cafe, Bump w/ Electric Fire Babies @ Magic Bag, local band Pistol Day Parade @ New York New York (Chesterfield Twp)
Sunday (4/04) Emily Haines fronted Metric @ WFCU Centre (Windsor)
Monday (4/05) Strokes lead singer Julian Casablancas @ St Andrews Hall
Their is a special Black Eyed Peas event going on Tuesday, March 30th with over 475 theatres nationwide., NCM Fathom and AEG Live bring "The Black Eyed Peas: The E.N.D. World Tour LIVE" presented by BlackBerry to the big screen for an exclusive One Night Only concert event featuring an explosive two-hour performance by GRAMMY Award-winning The Black Eyed Peas broadcast LIVE as it occurs from the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The performance will be preceded by 30 minutes of backstage footage from their tour that can only be seen in movie theatres! Go to http://www.ncm.com/Fathom/ConcertsAndMusic/event/BlackEyedPeas.aspx for theatre near you for showtimes including AMC Livonia 20 and Oxford 7 to name 2 of 20 Michigan Theatres involved.
On the music front, singer Johnny Maestro whose quality vocals, great song selections and recordings with dance-easy beats made the winning combination for charted hits with hits like "16 Candles" (the Molly Ringwald led John Hughes movie took it's name from this song), "Trouble in Paradise" and "Six Nights a Week" with The Crests and later a long career with The Brooklyn Bridge who had their biggest hit with "The Worst That Could Happen" has died of cancer at the age of 70.
Now for the Band Of The Week: Blackmore's Night. I wasn't familiar with this band until last week. I was playing "Stone Cold" by Rainbow when a listener called in for another Blackmore led band Deep Purple. While researching, I came across Blackmore's Night which is a Renaissance-inspired folk rock band led by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and his wife and vocalist Candice Night. They met at a football game in which he was playing and later Night did back-up vocals on Rainbow's album "Stranger in Us All". They became romanticaly involved when discovered that they shared a passionate interest in the Renaissance. Launched in 1997 as a pun of their own names. They are known for playing Renaissance Festivals as well as in stand-alone concert tours in appropriate venues including 'castle tours' of Europe where they perform in historic surroundings for an audience dressed largely in period costume. They have an incredible sound which I found solid and exciting. Hope you enjoy them too.
Also, in a recent BBC News interview former Stranglers frontman Hugh Cornwell endorsed free music downloading, coming just as the British government plans to crack down on illegal downloaders. Hugh, currently touring the United States, argues that a new generation is exposed to his music through the internet and they, in turn, spend more money on his live performances. He says, “There’s a whole generation of people who have never heard of me or the band I used to be in, The Stranglers. The question is, how do I reach them?...As far as I’m concerned, the free downloading of music is something we should embrace and not fear… People introduced to my music free online are more likely to buy my records and come to my live shows”. Hugh is pioneering free downloads as his latest album, "Hooverdam", is available for free download at his website, Hughcornwell.com. I saw Hugh a couple of years ago when they opened for From The Jam at the Crofoot. He puts on an amazing show though the closest he is scheduled to be to Detroit is an April 10th appearance at the Abbey Pub in Chicago. Road trip possibility?
Catching up with Celebrity Apprentice which is a show I rarely watch. I typically hate reality shows which in my opinion have gone downhill since the glory days of "Candid Camera", "The Gong Show" and "That's Incredible". However my babe Cyndi Lauper is on the show. Episode 1 had her as project manager for team Tenacity as they raised money for charity by working a diner. Despite her team losing the first week, she managed to hang on. Episode 2 had both teams running a campaign for a company from my home town, Kodak, and the women nailed it. Watching the show, I realize how special Cyndi is and how wacky her decisions are. Esp telling was the way Cyndi was unable to pick the two members of the team to bring back to the firing line and how bad she felt when Carol was fired. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to interview her when she comes to town on July 1st at Motorcity's Sound Board. Watching her makes me realize more why I am a fan of hers. Also just got the Japanese copy of her EP Shine which was actually a full album in Japan which is awesome. I will keep watching the show until she gets fired which I hope isn't for awhile. I was also surprised by the strength of character for Bret Michaels on the show. Rockers rule!!
Have a good week. I have also rented a copy of "American Virgin" in which I was an extra in about a year ago so hopefully when watching it I'll see myself. If I do, I'll let you know. Take care and have a good week. Quickly on the sports front, congrats to Michigan St for making the Final Four and I am a big Duke fan so I'm glad they are there. In NCAA hockey, the hot Michigan team which I thought might go all the way lost to Miami (OH) who joins Boston College, the Big Ten's Wisconsin and my home town team, RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) in the Frozen Four which comes to Ford Field next week (April 8th and 10th) in what should be a great tournament. Later!