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Archive for June, 2012

Jill Scott’s “Summer Block Party” is a scorcher

The crowd is dancing and fanning hard: with portable hand-helds, paper plates — anything that will produce a slight breeze.

After DJ Jazzy Jeff does his thing with some old school dance tunes like Tom Browne’s “Funkin For Jamaica,” this crowd is ready for Ms. Jill Scott.

The talented singer, actress and poet and storyteller takes to the stage at 9:15 p.m. belting out her hit, “It’s Love.” The crowd sings along with “The Way You Love Me.” Then she and one of her background singers performs the duet she made popular with soul crooner Anthony Hamilton, “So in Love.”

Scott sprinkles her show with stories, poems and encouraging words.  The crowd gets what it comes for and more when she sings popular anthems like “Golden,” “Blessed” and “Hate on Me.”

At one point, Scott dons a black page boy wig to perform “The Real Thing” only to take it off a few songs later when it gets a bit too hot. The singer with the powerful alto voice jokes with the crowd about everything from making love …

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Warming up for Jill Scott, Kem at Chastain

It’s  7:30 p.m. and still hot as blazes at Chastain Park. Picnic baskets, sun dresses and plenty of food and drink are in full effect as the large, fashionably dressed crowd awaits the main act: Miss J-I-L-L S-C-O-T-T  from North Philadelphia.

Two opening acts, a female singer from Detroit who did a nice cover of a Jazmine Sullivan hit and Jeff Bradshaw, a veteran trombone player and his band, also from North Philly, have primed the crowd.

Billed as a summer block party, DJ Jazzy Jeff is spinning hits like “Tenderoni”.

Good times, good music and plenty of heat to rock it out. Can someone say summer madness?

The crowd gets a little crunk when Kem hits the stage in all white just before 8 p.m. with an up tempo jam, before settling into one of his famous mellow standards, “You’re on my mind.”

Kem takes to the piano to sing crowd favorites, “Why would you Stay” and “Share my Life.” The man, his talented background trio and his band don’t disappoint. “I’m singing for the ladies,” …

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Michael Jackson’s ‘Immortal’ a dizzying, overstuffed spectacle

This Cirque show didn't forget anyone, even Bubbles the chimp. Photos: OSA Images

This Cirque show didn't forget anyone, even Bubbles the chimp. Photos: OSA Images

Trying to please all Michael Jackson fans is like trying to please an Italian mother – it’s never gonna happen.

But Cirque du Soleil pulls out every trick in its overstuffed arsenal with “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,” a flashy valentine to the singer that is 40 percent Broadway razzle-dazzle, 40 percent arena concert and only 20 percent typical Cirque.

Because the show is structured so differently and playing in cavernous arenas rather than the intimate customized theaters of Cirque’s other music-based shows (The Beatles’ “Love,” easily the best show in the Cirque canon and the limp “Viva Elvis,” mercifully being put out of its misery soon), “Immortal” often gets lost in its own grandiosity.

With a cast of more than 200 and a song list of about 25 tunes (some done medley-style), there is always something (dizzying) going on, usually by the immensely talented …

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Gotye sets Shazam record

Another record for Gotye.

Another record for Gotye.

Shazam is brilliant. Whether you’re struggling to remember the name of the band with that obscure ’80s hit (hey, Red Rider!) or trying to determine if the song playing overhead in the deli is Big Time Rush, The Wanted or One Direction, the free music app is there for the rescue.

If you’ve never used Shazam, it basically “listens” to a snippet of a song that could be playing in a public area (if it’s easily discernable), on TV, really, anywhere. Not only will it identify the song by title and artist, but provide lyrics and a quick link to download.

It’s also great for settling arguments with people who are convinced that, say, Power Station’s “Get it On (Bang a Gong)” is the original version.

But all of this to say that handy research tells us that Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” is Shazam’s most tagged song ever.

The Hollywood Reporter brings us the news that the song has reached 11.5 million tags worldwide. Just another milestone for the song …

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Adele announces pregnancy

So maybe Adele really wasn’t kidding when she remarked after her Grammy haul that she wanted to take the next five years off.

The British songstress, 24, is expecting her first child with boyfriend Simon Konecki.

Adele announced the news on her website, saying, “I’m delighted to announce that Simon and I are expecting our first child together.”

The singer then asked that everyone respect the couple’s privacy.

Miss “Rolling in the Deep” has been dating Konecki, the 37-year-old CEO of Drop4Drop charity and a divorced dad, since last summer but didn’t go public with the relationship until January.

What effect do you think a baby will have on her career? Will she really slip out of the public eye for a few years, or be back soon after giving birth?

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Friday Riffs: It’s a Michael Jackson weekend

Monday marked the three-year death of Michael Jackson.

Coincidentally, this weekend, starting tonight, the Cirque du Soleil production, “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,” pulls into Philips Arena for three performances.

You’ll hear plenty of Jackson hits (and some less obvious songs) during the 90-minute show, which is a rousing homage with some spectacular choreography.

At times, Jackson himself returns via video and audio, which will make you tear up for lots of reasons.

So to prep you for this weekend’s shows, which have some Atlanta ties, or aid in your own remembrance of Jackson this week, here are five Jackson videos I think are worth watching. Sound off with your favorites below.

“The Making of ‘We Are the World’”
– If you’ve never watched this exchange between Jackson and Quincy Jones as they record the guide vocal for “We Are the World,” you’ve missed something big. Because for a time – this time – Jackson actually looks …

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Concerts: Jill Scott, Coldplay, Al Green, Flo Rida

JillScott.0819DJill Scott brings her powerful voice (and openers Kem and DJ Jazzy Jeff) to Chastain Park Amphitheatre Saturday, June 30. Photo: Robb D. Cohen,

Al Green

The Rev. Green stopped performing secular music for a time, but when he came back to R&B it was reason to celebrate. His soulful performances are a real pleasure to watch, though you don’t really watch them so much as experience them. The Blind Boys of Alabama will open the show, which is sure to give the evening a rousing gospel start.
8 p.m. June 29. $35-$55. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive, Atlanta. 404-233-2227.

Ryan Horne

Silky sandpaper might be an oxymoron, but it might be the perfect way to describe singer-songwriter Horne’s voice. It’s gritty, warm and soothing. With the Atlanta native’s 2011 album “The Whistler & The Majestic,” the songwriting is every bit as good as his terrific voice (which occasionally recalls Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold). Just …

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Alex Cooley to reminisce about the Atlanta International Pop Festivals

Alex Cooley (circa 2010) will chat about the Atlanta International Pop Festivals on Sunday's "Deep River Music Vault" show. Photo credit: Jason Getz

Alex Cooley (circa 2010) will chat about the Atlanta International Pop Festivals on Sunday's "Deep River Music Vault" show. Photo credit: Jason Getz

The “Deep River Music Vault” show has only been on the air for a few weeks, but host Deborah Reece is rewinding to a big one this weekend.

On Sunday’s show, airing at 8 p.m. on The River 97.1, Reece will look back at the Atlanta International Pop Festivals of 1969 (at Atlanta International Raceway) and 1970 (at Middle Georgia Raceway). The events’ 42nd and 43rd respective anniversaries are around July 4.

Joining her in the studio will be veteran Atlanta concert promoter Alex Cooley, who produced the festivals, as well as Atlanta musician and “Music Vault” co-producer Guy Grande.

“Those who were there were enriched for life by the experience,” Reece said. “Alex Cooley brought Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix to Atlanta for the first time. The lineups were insanely good.”

Reece said she plans to talk to Cooley about …

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Atlanta’s Sexual Side Effects experience fiery show

Atlanta’s Sexual Side Effects lit up the Elysium in Texas the other night.

Apparently, in the middle of the band’s set, an amp caught on fire and flames quickly spread to some curtains in the venue. Here is frontwoman Amber Taylor to tell you more.

(BTW, Sexual Side Effects play The Earl July 10.)

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The Rolling Stones unveil anniversary logo

mainCould it be the first step toward a tour?

The Rolling Stones have unveiled a new tongue logo to commemorate their 50th anniversary, an updated design presented by artist Shepard Fairey.

The iconic logo was first seen in 1971 on the band’s “Sticky Fingers” album sleeve; the design came from John Pasche, then a student at Royal College of Art in London.

Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone magazine that he often marvels at the five decades the band has endured.

What do you think of the Rolling Stones’ anniversary logo?

  • Love it. Can’t wait to spend $50 on the T-shirt.
  • Blech. I prefer the original.

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“It’s a very different group than the one that played 50 years ago,” he said. “When I think about it, one part of me goes, ‘We’re slightly cheating,’ because it’s not the same band – still the same name, but it’s only Keith and myself that are the same people, I think. I’ve tried to find out when Charlie [Watts'] first gig was [but can't]. …

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