Category Archives: pop

Kelly Clarkson to Perez Hilton: STFU

I don’t condone violence at all — but the Perez Hilton/Will i. am incident is ridiculous. Feel free to read my full take at The Round Table, but for those just interested in seeing what Kelly had to say check the video below. Perez talk starts around 3:40 mark — be sure to keep watching until 4:49 mark when interviewer tells Kelly that Perez was actually crying on their talk show. Kelly’s reaction is classic.

All I have to say is — Perez, if Kelly Clarkson, quite possibly the nicest celeb on the planet is talking smack, you definitely made some enemies in the entertainment world.


Keri Hilson Covers Kelly Clarkson’s SUBG…

Keri Hilson tends to be a “watercooler” topic for me and my buddy Opaul to discuss at The Round Table. Basically, it boils down to both of us wanting more from Keri and for her not to fall into what we affectionately call the “Christina Milian trap.”

The Christina Milian trap is essentially being pigeon-holed into a songwriter who gives all her hot tracks to other female performers and blow up their status. Keri Hilson is definitely going down this track as of late — which is sad because I had such high hopes for her after catching her during Justin Timberlake’s FSLS tour. During the show’s intermission, Timbaland had Keri cover current hits of the moment, including Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You Been Gone” aka SUBG.

Now, SUBG was covered by everyone from Robyn, The Gossip, Ted Leo, and even The Aquabats, but what set Keri’s rendition apart was the subtle R&B touch. The beat is pretty generic, standard Timbaland fare, but it works. Peep Keri’s version below. In the meantime, I’ll take some solace in that Keri’s starting to release moderately good tunes in “Knock You Down” and “Turnin Me On” (remix), but I’m still waiting on her to full on SING a damn track vs. relying on catchy beats to do the talking.

NYC: Sara Bareilles & Tony Lucca…

Wanted to share my recent recap of Tony Lucca and Sara Bareillies performance from last night. Be sure to stop by The Round Table to share your thoughts/comments….

Last night Sara Bareillies brought her “Gravity” tour to New York City’s famed Joe’s Pub for the second show of a three set series. Joe’s Pub is an NYC gem of a venue for music lovers looking to experience a live show in an intimate setting. Bareilles’ stage decor embraced the intimate theme as it resembled a cozy living room, which only enhanced her stripped down, acoustic performance.

I’ve seen Sara Bareillies perform once before at Irving Plaza, but I left that show feeling a bit underwhelmed by her, in hindsight now seeing her at Joe’s, I realize that the Irving Plaza venue didn’t do her much justice.

Bareilles took to the stage around 8p and immediately launched into witty stage banter with the crowd and encouraged a very interactive environment – asking fans to sing along, dance, clap, or just shout things at her – but “no throwing objects, because it hurts.” Bareilles said she liked intimate venues and often treats them as an episode of VH1’s Storytellers, which the crowd got a kick out of. She then talked about feeling guilty for recycling the same jokes from the night before and vowed to give us something different — then launched into a humorous ad-lib teaser of “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor with the help of her immensely talented percussionist (and vocalist) Joshua Day.

Though Bareilles performed the staples of her debut album Little Voice like “Bottle it Up,” “Love Song,” “Vegas,” and “Come Round Soon,” she gave these tracks a fresh twist by re-arranging them to fit with her acoustic backing of guitar player, double bass player, and percussionist as she switched from piano to guitar on occasion. She also mixed in some new material she’s been working on, which has a lot of promise. I’m especially excited for “Gonna Get Over You,” which as Bareilles described it is a song about “depression — which is best encased in a happy sound beat.” Um…I know, right up my alley! My second favorite moment was Bareilles closing out the show with “Gravity” accompanied by herself on piano – absolutely break-taking, no one moved through out the song.

Last night I left with a new respect for Sara Bareillies, realizing she is a true talent. It’s hard to gauge a performer these days because let’s face it – it’s way too easy to make anyone sound good in a recording studio. The true test is seeing someone perform in an acoustic setting – and Sara Bareilles proved she has both the talent as a song-writer and the chops as a singer to play in the big leagues. She’s also pretty wise for selecting Tony Lucca as an opener for her tour.

I’ve talked about Tony in the past quite a bit – so you know how much I adore this man. He’s a true true talent that is deserving of mass attention. I’m thinking he won over quite a few Sara Bareilles fans last night at the show with his inspired performance. Typically a love song kinda guy, Tony went for a more politically fueled performance while working out some new material as well, including “True Story,” which he was stoked is getting spun on Sirius Radio Coffee Shop channel. Thankfully, f he also managed to squeeze in two of my favorite tracks from his older catalogue: “Melancholy Collar,” “Death of Me” and “Pretty Things.”

You can view pictures and clips of last night’s performances at my Flickr page. Set lists below as well as video clips.

Sara Bareillies:
Goodbye Song
Fairytale (aka “Feminist anthem”)
One Sweet Love
Come Round Soon
Bottle it Up
Love Song
Gonna Get Over You
Many the Miles (aka “many the shit”)
Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (U2 cover)
Gravity (solo on piano)

Tony Lucca:
Melancholoy Collar
Close Enough
Giving It All Away
I Can, I Will, I Do
True Story
Death of Me
Pretty Things

Britney Brings The Circus…

tt4bhaiFull disclosure – I was never a Britney fan. I mean, I’m a pop music fan, so I guess in some respect I could appreciate Britney Spears in her hay-day, but still, I never owned a CD. I can’t tell you how many arguments I had with die-hard fans back when predicting her over-saturation in the media would eventually lead to her downfall. Rather than sit back and say “I told you so,” instead I felt a tad bit guilty because being a pop music fan, I fed into that demise. We’ve watched the rise of Britney, the fall, and of course as she hit rock bottom only to come full circle to potential rise again.

We all know she’s never been a vocal superstar, heck, most days she’s lucky if she can actually lip-sync properly to her own tracks. So what do I find appealing about her? She’s an entertainer. Good, bad or indifferent, she has entertained us since ’98 no questions asked. Like the perfect toy only to be tossed aside when something more shiny and new came around. We built her up, only to break her down  and once the guilt became too much (even for us masochists) we found a way to slowly put the pieces together again.

Part of our repentance is to cheer Britney on as she gears up for one of her (more) anticipated album releases in “Circus.” Yup, it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek realizing that for the most part, Britney is willing to laugh along with us with Larry Rudolph, long time manager playing ringleader. “Circus” is another all-star list of producers from Bloodshy  & Avant to Danja and of course pop impresario Max Martin aka the man who brought us “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” What’s the difference this time around? Well, it seems Britney is an active participant in the process, not a passive one like she was with “Blackout.”

So far, “Circus” delivers. It’s along the lines of what we’ve come to expect from Britney as far as sound up-beat tracks about wanting to dance (in various forms), but at least she is present in the songs – not just incoherently ad-libing her way through. Needless to say, I’m pretty pumped for the album’s release – more so for the upcoming MTV “documentary.” Just wish she’d begin it with a throwback to “You think you know, but you have no idea….”

Be sure to check out “Circus” – streaming now at Imeem.

Janet Jackson +Ernie Halter…

So, the day has finally arrived (again!). I’ll be seeing Miss Janet Jackson tonight at Madison Square Garden aka MSG in NYC. Obviously, I’ve been amped about this show for a while. The MSG date was one of the shows she postponed back in September due to her bout with vertigo, so I’m relieved that the date has finally come back around.

Having seen her in NJ about a month ago, I can honestly say this is one of her best live shows ever. Seriously. The setlist is no joke, 30+ songs, not medleys/snippets, SONGS. Her choreography is on point and for the first time in a while (back to Janet days), she’s actually performing live vocals throughout the show. Needless to say, I was not disappointed when I saw her in NJ.

However, seeing her at MSG will be a true treat. MSG is the mecca for performers here in NYC. I’ve never had the opportunity to see Janet play the Garden, so I’m pretty pumped about it. As a warm up to the show, I wanted to share another of my favorite artists with you: Ernie Halter.

I’ve wrote about how brilliant Ernie is in the past, but this takes the cake. In honor of Janet Jackson day,  I just had to share this amazing acoustic performance Ernie put together.

Here’s a little “Nasty Boys,” while you patiently await my update (and pics) post concert.

Janet Jackson’s Official Set List (Spoiler)…

Alright kiddies, the day has finally come and gone and Ms. Jackson officially opened her Rock Witchu Tour in Vancouver last night. You know I’m not one for surprises so I had to go ahead and check out images and set list from the show. Concert attendees said Janet performed for 2 hours and 30 mins, that’s a ridiculous amount of time if you think about how much dancing that chick does in a show. Needless to say, I’m soooo excited for October to roll around. Yup, I’m seeing her in NYC at Madison Square Garden on October 16th followed by front row tickets to see her at Izod Center in NJ on October 17th. Insane.

Here’s the final setlist from last night’s show (don’t read if you like being surprised!)

Pleasure Principle
What Have You Done For Me Lately
You Want This
Miss You Much
Rhythm Nation – Interlude
Never Letchu Go
Come Back To Me
Let’s Wait Awhile
So Excited
So Much Betta
All Nite (Don’t Stop)
Rock With U
Together Again
Young Love
Say You Do
Don’t Stand Another Chance
Doesn’t Really Matter
Love Will Never Do (Without You)
When I Think Of You
All For You
Got ‘Til It’s Gone
Call On Me
That’s The Way Love Goes
I Get Lonely
Funny How Time Flies (When You’re Having Fun)
Any Time, Any Place
Black Cat
Rhythm Nation
Band/Dancer Introductions

*Picture courtesy of Associated Press – Janet Tour Rehersal

Other images from last night’s opening show can be viewed at Janet-Xone Flickr page.

VMAs: I’m Over You…

Dreadful. That’s the one word I’d use to sum up this year’s VMAs. Really, that should come to no surprise after last year’s horrific show and my post-VMAs round up. (Myspace blog sucks, so you might have to search for post). We’ve been down this road before, VMA night is like my Oscar night. It’s the ONE big award show I look forward to every year (way less this year after last year’s debacle, but still…). Why the VMAs? Because I am the MTV generation. I grew up on MTV, for better or worse, some of my earliest childhood memories are linked to music videos and of course the award ceremony.

Truthfully, I didn’t have very high expectations going in last night after hearing the performance line-up, Lil Wayne, Jonas Brothers, Paramore, TI, Rihanna (way TOO much of her). Then of course there was all the Britney hype and hype it was. Will she open? Will she perform? Will she crash and burn? The countdowns…the teasers…the spectualation all for nothing. Britney opened, she took part in bland skit with (sometimes funny) Jonah Hill, but after 15 seconds we got the point. Then they showed Brit Brit walking from her dressing room to the stage only to announce Russell Brand. Boooorrring…

That’s not a knock on Brit, it was nice to see her looking at least somewhat happy and sane. It’s just to say that MTV billed it to be so much more, anyone watching couldn’t help but be disappointed. So the real opening act was Rihanna performing “Disturbia” with dozens of dancers wildly banging large glow sticks. Huh? I don’t get it. Then Rihanna floated in the auditorium on some giant cake only to reveal a less than flattering outfit. Problem is, Disturbia has no words other than the chorus so it was a wasted effort – only enjoyable part of the performance was when the band went into White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” Poor Jack White.

Fast forward through a somewhat amusing monologue by Brand who apparently is not a fan of Republicans or the current President of the U.S.. Then of course he latched on to the Jonas Bros purity rings and never let go. No really, it was the only thing he rambled about ALL NIGHT LONG. We get it Russell, you like sex, we just can’t tell which gender you prefer it with.

Unfortunately, Brand didn’t knock the Jonas Brothers for the one thing he should’ve — their performance. I felt like I was watching Sesame Street – as the three of them sat on stairs and sang some acoustic rendition of “Lovebug” or something to that effect. After 2 long minutes of pre-pubescent screeching by Nick, the stage opened to reveal a full on band and the Jonas Bros screamed the remainder of the song as young girls and gay boys. I don’t get it. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of a lot of random pop acts in my time, but the Jonas Bros, I just don’t get them at all. It’s not for lack of trying either.

Let’s speed this along… Lil Wayne ran around the audience with his pants falling off (wearing a belt mind you!), while grabbing his crotch and choking over the words to his own song leaving him inaudible through most of the performance. T-Pain joined him, but lip-synced. Really, rappers that lip-sync piss me off more than anything — Yup, that goes for you too, T.I…

You know what, there was so much bad, let’s just focus on the few highlights:

Britney winning her first VMA, then second, then third. Hoping these weren’t awarded to her out of pity, but either way, she was pretty, classy and humbly accept her award with a genuinely sweet speech  (did you ever think you’d see those words together when describing Britney of late?!)

Pink. She performed her single “So What” on the backlot studio and it was amazing. Now THIS was a performance worthy of VMA show opening, too bad it can about an hour and half too late. There was excitment, stunts, fire, a sexy costume reveal, and oh yeah, and LIVE singing. Can’t beat it.

Travis Barker and DJ AM – but more so Travis Barker. The dude ripped it on the drumset. I would’ve much preferred to listen to him bang away to random hip-hop songs all night than watch half of the performers take the stage.

Sadly, Britney reclaiming her career, Pink tearing it up (as always), and a drummer were the only worthwhile portions of the 2 hour and 15 minute show. There was no Britney performance and no sighting of MJ or any Jackson for that matter. In Russell Brand’s opening monologue he noted MTV’s storied past, but how the show was all about the future. Well, if last night’s show was any indication of what’s in store for music – we should all be worried. I mean, even Christina Aguilera lip-synced, ’nuff said.

Here’s some friends who live-blogged or tried to at least: