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Archive for July, 2012

A parade of Atlanta rappers joined Nicki Minaj at the Fox

The colorful Nicki Minaj performed at a festival in London earlier this month. Photo credit: Danny Martindale/Getty Images

The colorful Nicki Minaj performed at a festival in London earlier this month. Photo credit: Danny Martindale/Getty Images

Instead of being called the “Pink Friday” tour, Nicki Minaj’s triumphant return to Atlanta Sunday night could have been dubbed “The Tour Stop Featuring Every Atlanta Rapper Except Ludacris…And Even A Couple of R&B Stars.”

The first chunk of her joyful 100-minute show at the Fox Theatre breezed along from the insanely catchy “Beez in the Trap” (with openers 2 Chainz) to Big Sean’s raw club thumper “Dance” to “Right By My Side,” a straight-up power ballad that proves Minaj knows her way around a melody as well as a rhyme.

But then the parade started. Quietly, at first, with a quick appearance by Young Jeezy, who rattled off “Supa Freak” to a sold-out crowd already amped by Minaj’s can’t-turn-away stage presence.

Then, halfway through the concert, Minaj started to talk about a vocalist who influenced her from her earliest …

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Huey Lewis & the News still have that soul

Huey Lewis (front, left) and the News are sharing a bill with Joe Cocker this summer. Photo credit: Marina Chavez

Huey Lewis (front, left) and the News are sharing a bill with Joe Cocker this summer. Photo credit: Marina Chavez

Huey Lewis & The News were ubiquitous in the ‘80s.

A band that, at its core, revered blues, doo-wop and soul, but somehow found itself plastered on MTV in heavy rotation.

The Bay Area-based crew, fronted by the handsomely weathered Lewis, has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, and it’s the rare music listener who isn’t familiar with one of their 38 radio singles, including a dozen that hit the Top 10.

Just try walking into any random bar with a jukebox and not finding “The Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “The Power of Love” or “I Want a New Drug” on it.

But in recent years, the band, which tours consistently, has returned to its less-polished roots, stripping off the pop gloss for 2001’s “Plan B” and romping through a tribute to Stax Records artists with 2010’s “Soulsville.”

This summer, Lewis and the gang are teaming with Joe …

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The B-52s – still wonderfully weird

The B-52s (Keith Strickland, Cindy Wilson, Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson) received a proclamation from the city honoring their 35th anniversary. Photo credit: Max Blau

The B-52s (Keith Strickland, Cindy Wilson, Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson) received a proclamation from the city honoring their 35th anniversary. Photo credit: Max Blau

For 35 years, The B-52s have lived and breathed quirky.

And that’s just the way fans want them.

Other bands might have abandoned their proclivities toward weirdness as they aged, but not the core four of Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Fred Schneider and Keith Strickland, who are now in their 50s and 60s.

From the opening “Wig,” which featured Schneider prancing around the stage, pointing at the crowd and yelping the lyric, “What’s that on your head?” (answer: lots of colorful bouffants for some) to Pierson’s out-of-water swimming moves during “Private Idaho,” it was clear that this band will always be most comfortable on Non-Conformity Street.

Four light towers, some blinking set pieces and a video screen with random images projected behind the B’s kept the stage party-ready. Schneider, in …

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Friday Riffs: Do you record concerts on your smartphone?

Is this you at a concert?

Is this you at a concert?

I’m sure you’ve seen it.

 You know, that person in front of you at a concert, blocking your view of Chris Martin because it’s much more important to film the entire concert through a smartphone lens than to actually watch and experience the show.

 I go to a lot of concerts. This annoys me. Greatly. It’s rude to the artist and to the audience. And those of you who think it’s cool to whip out your iPad – a device the width of a placemat – and wave it in the air because you HAVE to get that footage of the Jacksons to do…what with exactly? well, there’s a special set of expletives reserved for you.

 And that leads me to today’s question: I need some honest folks to tell me if you’ve ever recorded a concert — particularly large portions of a show – on your smartphone or iPad, and if so, why.

 You know how I feel. Now I want to hear your side. Besides, I am genuinely curious about what you do with the recording, if you realize or …

Continue reading Friday Riffs: Do you record concerts on your smartphone? »

The O’Jays, Patti LaBelle highlight Summer Music Festival

 

With a name as generic as the Summer Music Festival, you probably wouldn’t realize the level of stardom participating: Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Patti LaBelle, The O’Jays, Babyface and Tank.

The package tour visited a ¾-full Chastain Park Amphitheatre Thursday night – a happy crowd ready to dance and sing along to hours of classics while taking breaks to fan themselves and share mini-fans (you smart, smart folks).

After opening sets from Babyface and Tank, The O’Jays – originals Eddie Levert, Walter Williams and member since the mid-‘90s Eric Grant – trotted onstage in matching white satin suits for “Love Train.”

The trio frequently introduced songs by way of, “See if you remember this one,” and the answer, based on audience participation, was always a chorus of knowing yesses.

During their quick, 30-minute set, the O’Jays, backed by a 12-member band, including a four-piece horn section that added warm tones to the music, engaged in dance …

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Concerts: Neko Case, Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, Kiss, Aerosmith

KellyFormer Atlantan Kelly Hogan returns for a hometown performance. Hogan has been part of Neko Case’s band for a while now and this time around she’s opening the show, too. She’ll be showcasing songs from her new album, “I Like to Keep Myself in Pain.” Photo: Neko Case

TODAY
Neko Case, Kelly Hogan

Neko Case is one of the finest singers in popular music. The Virginia-born chanteuse’s forceful yet tender voice seems as comfortable deep in a country song as it does wailing amid crunchy rock guitars. Her latest album, “Middle Cyclone,” was among 2009’s most critically lauded, landing at No. 3 on the Village Voice’s annual year-end critics’ poll. Hogan, Case’s frequent backing vocalist, is an Atlanta native who relocated to Chicago in the late ’90s. She’s just released a new album, “I Like to Keep Myself in Pain,” her first since 2001’s “Because It Feel Good.” Her velvety voice is still one of the best things Atlanta has given to the world. Hogan can …

Continue reading Concerts: Neko Case, Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, Kiss, Aerosmith »

Fred Schneider talks B-52s 35th anniversary

The B-52s -- Keith Strickland, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson and Fred Schneider -- are celebrating their 35th anniversary. Courtesy photo.

The B-52s — Keith Strickland, Cindy Wilson, Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson — are celebrating their 35th anniversary. Courtesy photo.

Even though only one member still lives in the state, The B-52s will always be synonymous with Georgia.

It’s been 35 years since Cindy Wilson, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland, Fred Schneider and Wilson’s now-deceased older brother Ricky played their first show in a house across the street from the Taco Stand in Athens. Though they moved to New York two years later, just as their self-titled debut, sporting the weird and wonky “Rock Lobster” and “Planet Claire,” started to gain traction, The B-52s and Athens go together like Springsteen and Asbury Park.

Schneider, though, has vivid memories of the B’s formative years playing around the state.

“Atlanta was one of the first places we’d play, probably in early ’78. We did our first record in Stone Mountain,” Schneider said earlier this week from his hotel room at the Trump …

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Cee Lo postpones Vegas show opening to 2013

Cee Lo performed with some Vegas showgirls at an event in February. Photo credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Cee Lo performed with some Vegas showgirls at an event in February. Photo credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

So much for Cee Lo Green’s Las Vegas debut this year.

The singer has officially postponed his “Cee Lo Green IS Loberace” show – which was scheduled to open Aug. 29 at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino — until February.

On Tuesday, the Las Vegas Sun reported that the show would be postponed so the Atlanta-born Green could honor his judging commitments on “The Voice” and also because the staging – expected to be quite a spectacle – required more time and work than initially planned.

Green confirmed the postponement Wednesday night in a statement. The new opening date is Feb. 27. Those who already purchased tickets can exchange them for a new date or receive a refund. New tickets for the show – which will still be held at Planet Hollywood – go on sale Aug. 1 through Ticketmaster.

Green’s show is expected to be a frothy, colorful presentation, similar …

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The Who includes Gwinnett on ‘Quadrophenia’ tour

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will bring "Quadrophenia" to the road this fall. Photo credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will bring "Quadrophenia" to the road this fall. Photo credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

The Who announced that they’ll bring “Quadrophenia” to the road this fall for a 36-date tour, including a stop at Gwinnett Center Arena at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5, the third date of the tour.

 In a video press conference from London today, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend confirmed their plans.

 “It’s been four years since we’ve been out and we tried to find something we could do together,” Townshend said. “’Quadrophenia’ was something we both felt we could get together on and look at again. We’ve been anxious to work together before we drop dead.”

 The band last performed the classic 1973 rock opera in its entirety on tour in 1996-1997.

 The lineup for the tour – along with Daltrey and Townshend – includes Zak Starkey (drums), Pino Palladino (bass), Simon Townshend (guitar) and Chris Stainton, Loren Gold and Frank Simes …

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Justin Bieber’s Rolling Stone cover

Bieber now.

Bieber now.

Bieber in February 2011.

Bieber in February 2011.

Justin Bieber returns to the cover of Rolling Stone this week.

 The sometimes-Atlantan shows off his sleeker, more mature look in the new issue, on shelves Friday. It’s the second time he’s graced the front of the magazine in his young career.

 Rolling Stone provided a sneak peek of the story, which follows Bieber into the studio and watches him deal with paparazzi at a golf course (he hits a golf ball at them).

 The 18-year-old heartthrob starts a tour in September, with a sold-out Atlanta date at Philips Arena in January. The guys in British band The Wanted have hinted they’re going to tour with Bieber, now that they share Scooter Braun as a manager.

What do you think of Bieber’s new cover?

Follow me on Twitter |Facebook

By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

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