Nevermind The Posers

See ya in the pit.

#2…Top 5 Favorite Musicians of All Time May 6, 2010

TNT’s #2 Musician of All Time
2. Joan JettJett made it possible for women to rock, without her, we’d be generations behind.  The face of women in rock music,  she is an authentic rock icon.  She always knew what she wanted and she stopped at nothing to get it.  Still touring with The Blackhearts, she also has her own label- Blackheart Records.  Joan Jett is woman, hear her rock!  Bottom line- Jett kicks ass!

Alex’s #2 Musician of All Time
2. A) Prince – Androgyny may not be all it’s cracked up to be, but this dude has put out dozens of albums where he wrote, composed, and played every instrument.  If that’s not musicianship I don’t know what is.

2. B) Smokey Robinson – After seeing this guy live, who is pushing his 70’s, and hitting up a seminar at SxSW where he was a keynote speaker, this dude has done it all.  He basically made the MoTown genre what it is today, and worked with almost every act ever to come out of the Motor City.  Besides writing lyrics and singing, he produces and owns a label.  In short, he has pulsed through the veins of the music industry for 50 years, never missing a beat.

Mark’s #2 Musician of All Time
2. Andy Summers – Although I am not an accomplished guitar player myself, I count The Police’s Andy Summers as a personal guitar hero of my own (his classically trained background only).  Interesting enough, if you listen to all the Police records, you will notice one big detail, he never used straight distortion.  Instead, he used his own distinctive palette, which featured a barrage of effects pedals, which he used to create the sonic soundscapes contained within each police song.  To see what I mean, check this site out for a gander at his artillery:
RECOMMENDED: Zenyatta Mondatta (“Don’t Stand So Close to Me”, “When the World is Running Down”, “Driven to Tears”), Ghost in the Machine (“Secret Journey”, “Invisible Sun”, “Omegaman”), Synchronicity (“Synchronicity II”)

Angela’s #2 Musician of All Time
2. Green Day – Not only is Green Day one of my favorite bands since childhood, but I also rank them as a top artist (collectively) because of their consistency with delivering phenomenal live shows as well as their continuing growth musically.  Lots of bands from the 90’s never made it out of that decade. . . but Green Day did something not many bands can do to maintain longevity Evolve.  No, they don’t sound 100% like they did on Dookie, but why would I want them to?  I’ve grown up since then, and I’m glad they have been able to grow with me.  In their maturity, they haven’t been afraid to take risks and follow their music wherever it may take them. . and for that, I admire and respect their work beyond a regular fan.

Klone’s #2 Musician of All Time
2. Maynard James Keenan (1964 – ) – Born James Herbert Keenan, Maynard = Tool.  Tool = one of the most visionary rock bands of recent decades.  One could argue that Keenan is one of the many artists whose multifaceted talents place them in the same arena as icons like David Bowie and Frank Zappa, artists who clash with the mainstream by creating their own genre with the music they write, performances they conceive, and constantly reinvent themselves as an extension of their art.  Maynard is notably reclusive, making few public appearances other than at charity events, but his on-stage presence is one of confidence and experimentation.  This blatant lack of spotlight antics makes me feel like Keenan is even more of a true artist, concerned with creation first, and cash second.


Bowling for Soup and the Dollyrots: A rock concert that doesn’t take itself so seriously. March 25, 2010

*Pictures coming soon*

On Wednesday March 10, 2010 Starland Ballroom was home to a night of pop punk delectability in the form of headliners Bowling for Soup and openers, The Dollyrots.  Having never seen or listened to either band in extensive detail, I made my way into the venue with both an open mind and open ears, hoping to bring a fresh perspective to both bands live performance.

Upon arrival, I sauntered into the bar area to take a seat and watch the remaining songs of the smaller openers and began to notice I was very much alone.  Quite noticeably, the entire crowd was well under 21 years of age, most not even being able to drive, as I sat amidst their younger siblings and parents who waited for them in the audience.  Finally it came time for the Dollyrots to take the stage.  This punk rock trio, formed for fun by members Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas, took the stage with a “devil may care” attitude and punk rock sound of their forefathers.  Looking much like a 2010 version of Joan Jett meets Nancy Spungen (a very befitting look as they cited Sid and Nancy as inspiration) minus the drug addiction; Kelly Ogden catapulted the band into their set, delivering catchy licks and sharp hooks that earned them my respect as a fan of the punk rock movement.  Musically, the Dollyrots were able to encapsulate their influences while bringing their own fresh sound to the table.  Unfortunately, despite my enjoyment of their set, I did notice that their style and influence was almost completely lost on the crowd.  Having done a cover of “Brand New Key” by Melanie Safka(popularized by the Janis Joplin cover), one could almost see the crowd’s eyes glaze over.  Being too young to appreciate the band and their music, I felt the group did not get the recognition they deserved that night.  Though I had never heard nor seen this group before, I absolutely enjoyed their energy, lack of seriousness about themselves, but also their tightness as a musical group, firing through the set with precision and ease, demonstrating their musical finesse while maintaining the illusion of a three chord Ramones skill.  Their sophomore album Because I’m Awesome was released on Jett’s own Blackheart Records and has gained the band some notoriety.

You may have already heard some music from the Dollyrots in this Kohl’s commercial.

Here’s the official video for “Brand New Key”

Upon departure the crowd began to get restless again, all that teen angst was mounting into excitement for the main act, Bowling for Soup.  A group from the larger than life state of Texas, I had heard many of their singles on the radio throughout the years and have painted a mental portrait of a pop punk group with less than life altering lyrics dedicated to the pursuit of fun.  In time, the television screen rolled up and the lights dimmed; the room stood silent in anticipation for just a moment when Bowling for Soup’s theme music began to blare through the house P.A. system.  Within seconds I realized the band had written their own entrance music with a catchy little chorus that repeated the hook, “here comes bowling for soup!”  I’ve been to a lot of concerts in my lifetime, but I must say, that would be the first time I have ever heard of a band writing a song for themselves, about themselves, just before hitting the stage.  While it wasn’t necessarily pretentious, I found it a little odd.  Within moments the band graces the audience with their presence, welcoming the crowd with their warmth and energy and seamlessly blasting into their set.  One downside however, the band took liberal amounts of time between songs to address the assembly of kids.  Often feeling more like an attempt at a comedy show than a rock concert, front man Jaret Reddick spoke in length to the congregation, making fun of himself and band members or simply creating long drawn out introductions for each upcoming track.  In all my experience, I have found this tends to make a show seem long and arduous to endure.  Just play the freaking music, that’s what we came for.

From the first chord to the last, the young audience moved in unison, fist pumping and making hackneyed attempts at crowd surfing.  Playing singles such as “Punk Rock 101,”  “My Wena,” and “High School Never Ends” one entire theme became clear to me- no matter how old the members of the band were, their lyrics never quite grew up.  Stuck in the epitome of the genre ‘pop punk’ it made complete sense that a large majority of the group’s fan base isn’t even old enough to vote.  What’s more is the band has the tight musicianship of seasoned professionals.  Playing their instruments with skill, even throwing in a few tricks, I noticed that the group overall was incredibly strong and had the talent to take their music to the next level; they simply choose not to.  Now, I’m not trying to say that this band was terrible live as their fans ate up every single second, but I feel that if the band does not grow up and evolve past their ‘pop punk roots’ utilizing all that musical talent, they simply will fade out once their fan base grows up.  It doesn’t all have to be drunken potty humor and high school romances.  So stop talking so much and start playing the type of music you’re capable of or the idea of longevity will simply remain as such.

By Angela Blasi