Tag Archive | Concert

The Occasionalists Present: Post-Inauguration Live Karaoke to Benefit Planned Parenthood

Drumpf Karaoke

Hey, do you hate Donald Trump? I sure do. I hate him sooo much, just being serious. If you feel like I do, and you also enjoy performing Karaoke, let me tell you about a fun event happening this Friday. On January 27th, The Occasionalists, a wildly talented, Brooklyn-based cover band will be hosting Post-Inauguration Live Karaoke at Union Hall in Brooklyn. Tickets are only $10, with all  proceeds benefitting Planned Parenthood, and other Rights organizations.

The Occasionalists will play all of the songs live and then you can just sing along – super fun! Come let your voice be heard — on stage, in the crowd or at the bar! Have some fun and relax in safe place filled with other sane people who didn’t help to get us into this mess!

Proposed Set List for the Evening Will Feature All of Your Favorites, Including:

It’s the End of the World As We Know It – R.E.M.
Revolution — The Beatles
Get Up, Stand Up — Bob Marley
Refugee — Tom Petty
Life During Wartime — Talking Heads
You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
Crazy Train — Ozzy
Freedom 90 — George Michael
London Calling — The Clash
I Will Survive — Cake
Eve of Destruction — Barry McGuire
Should I Stay or Should I Go — The Clash
Creep — Radiohead
Seven Nation Army — White Stripes
Anarchy in the U.K. — Sex Pistols
Come Together — The Beatles
Won’t Get Fooled Again — The Who
Highway to Hell — AC/DC
Fight the Power — Public Enemy
Road to Nowhere — Talking Heads
These Boots Were Made for Walking — Nancy Sinatra
Say It Ain’t So — Weezer
Hallellujah — Leonard Cohen
Psycho Killer — Talking Heads
Redemption Song — Bob Marley
What I Got — Sublime
Sympathy for the Devil – Stones

The Dirty Waltz Band will warm up the house starting at 7:30 PM, with The Occasionalists hitting the stage at 8:45 PM. Union Hall is located at 702 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11215 (N R Q 4 And 5 Trains). If you happen to get hungry, Union Hall also serves delicious food! Further show details can be found Here, and on the FaceBook event page Here. Purchase Tickets in advance Right Here.

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Recommended Viewing: We Are X, The Death and Life of X Japan

We Are X Movie Poster
Above Image Courtesy of We Are X Film Dot Com. All Other Photos By Gail

When the most popular heavy metal band in Japan came to New York in October of 2014 to play a show at Madison Square Garden, they managed to sell out the legendary arena, despite being virtually unknown in America. X (known stateside as X Japan), got their start in the 1980s as a glam metal band, doing their best to shock audiences with their outrageous stage show and equally over-the-top, gender-bending physical appearances that included flamboyant rock fashions, wildly theatrical hairstyles and Kabuki-esque make-up. But what critics who initially dismissed the band as all style and no substance didn’t realize was that these guys could play their asses off, and were selling the type of rebellious image that repressed Japanese audiences couldn’t wait to buy. Now, an award-winning documentary, We Are X,  aims to bring the myth and enigma that is X Japan into your consciousness.

X Japan Concert Ad

Critics say that the mark of a good documentary is when its story is accessible to, and can be fully enjoyed by, audiences who are completely unfamiliar with its subject matter. Using the career-milestone Madison Square Garden concert as a jumping off point, and circling back to that show (which I attended) at the film’s end, Director Stephen Kijak (Stones in Exile, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man) has succeeded wildly at crafting a career-spanning Rock & Roll fable that will surely hook those who’ve never even heard of X Japan right from its opening credits.

Yoshiki at MSG
Yoshiki on Stage at MSG

Told primarily from the viewpoint of founding member Yoshiki; X Japan’s drummer, composer and charismatic leader, We Are X is both the story of the band’s groundbreaking 30-year career, and also the life story of Yoshiki, who turned to music as a child as a means to cope with the suicide of his father. Forming X as a teenager with school friend Toshi, who became the band’s lead singer, Yoshiki was driven to succeed by existential questions that haunted him from his father’s death; namely “What is my purpose?” and “why am I here?”

Yoshiki and Stephen Kijak
Yoshiki and Stephen Kijak Discuss the Film at a Post-Screening Q&A Here in NYC

Embracing a ‘Do or Die’ sensibility, X Japan became not just an innovative and successful rock band, but a cultural force as powerfully influential as that created by The Beatles decades before them. Not only have they achieved phenomenal record sales and concert attendances, but band members’ personal brands are associated with products as diverse as credit cards, wine, comic book superhero alter egos, and dolls made in their own likenesses. X Japan is also credited with spearheading the uniquely Japanese Visual Kei movement.

X at MSG
X Japan on Stage at MSG

The band’s great successes, however, were tempered with equally great tragedies. As a counterpoint to the celebratory  moments, the film carefully explores the suicides of two seminal band members, Hide (in 1998) and Taiji (in 2011), which shattered the lives of both X Japan’s surviving members, and devastated their fans, one of whom was driven to suicide because of the news. We Are X is a true life Rock & Roll story that really has everything.

Yoshiki and Toshi
Yoshiki and Toshi Rocking It Back in the Day!

Despite the intense personal/personnel drama, career challenges and many heart-rending moments, We Are X is also good fun, and thoroughly entertaining. One of my favorite parts happens towards the film’s end, when Yoshiki and Toshi are reunited in 2007, ten years after the singer abandoned X Japan to join a mind-controlling cult. Yoshiki recalls hanging out at the Palladium in Hollywood, where the friends were approached by two guys looking to buy drugs. One of the men asked the duo if they knew where they could score some X (meaning the psychedelic drug, Ecstasy). Yoshiki, whose grasp of the English language is obviously much  better now than it was back then, laughs when he recalls replying to the guy, with complete sincerity, “We are X!” Hilarious.

We Are X opens in theaters nationwide on Friday October 21st, 2016.

Grade: A+

X at MSG
X Japan On Stage at Madison Square Garden, October 2014

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Escape Music Festival Comes to Brooklyn NY! UPDATED



NOTE: As of September 29th, 2014, Escape music Festival has moved venues to Governor’s Island Beach Club. Visit This Link for details and to purchase tickets!

Escape Music Festival, a highly anticipated live electronic and indie rock music festival, is proud to announce its first interactive concert experience October 11 – 12, 2014 at Pier 9 in Brooklyn, NY. The festival plans to showcase 30 performances and attract a crowd of more than 16,000 people over the course of two days. Featured artists include Placebo and Yeasayer, along with Ra Ra Riot, Bakermat, ASTR, Tesla Boy, Basecamp and Follow Me, as well as DJ sets by The Crystal Method, Neon Indian and STRFKR.

The Festival will also host North America’s first El Row performances from resident DJ’s Oscar Aguilera, Marc Maya and more. Coming off its extremely successful summer residency at Space in Ibiza, Spain, the experience-based performances will combine top-notch underground talent along with interactive art, roaming theatrical performers, and a fully immersive state-of-the-art production design.

The full lineup, along with more information about the interactive elements will be released over the next few weeks leading up to Escape Music Festival. A limited amount of Early Bird 2-Day weekend passes for Escape Music Festival will be accessible to those ages 19 and up and are available now at Escape Music Fest Dot Com for $80.00 while tickets last.

Escape Music Festival will be providing ferry service from Manhattan and shuttle service from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. For more general and transportation information and to purchase tickets, visit: Escape Music Fest Dot Com.

Escape Music Festival Poster

Attention New York: Rockin' Benefit Concert for Animals Coming Up on January 21st!

Bashers Color Flyer

Monday January 21st is the day we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, so almost everyone has the day off, amiright? Well, even if you don’t, you can celebrate and honor the spirit of doing something good by attending this rocking event in NYC’s Greenwich village that will benefit several animal advocacy groups.

First off, artist/designer Michael Houghton will be singing with The Bashers, a group comprised of musicians from Guns N’ Roses, Soul Asylum and Keith Richard’s X-pensive Winos band. It does not get much more rock than that. The Planets will also be performing.

A Donation of just $10 is suggested and all funds collected at the door on this evening will go towards two very worthy animal organizations in need, Wildlife Waystation and Ferals in Peril. The work these groups do to assist animals is very close to the hearts of event organizers, Geri Gongora, Dava She Wolf and Wesley Wang. And who doesn’t love animals? What a fun event for a great cause!

The show will take place at Sullivan Hall, Located at 214 Sullivan Street in Downtown NYC! Doors open at 8:30 with the first band on stage at 9:30, so even getting enough sleep on a work night should not be an issue. So come have a drink, make a new friend, rock out and save some animals!

Black Stone Cherry at NYC’s Beacon Theater

Black Stone Cherry Press Photo
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A publicist recently asked me what bands I’m currently listening to – and I know she expected me to name some “new” bands, but I had to confess that the bulk of music I’ve been loading on my iPod or adding to my collection in recent months is music from the 1970s. Because, from The Beatles through Glam, Prog Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock, the onset of Electronica, Punk Rock and New Wave, the Seventies really had it all. This realization actually brought back an awkward memory of the time an editor (whom I still affectionately refer to as Iron Nuts) accused me of being “desperate to like a modern band.” Okay, guilty as charged. Still, I’m not going to apologize for it.

One modern band that I do like a lot is Black Stone Cherry. I’d own all of their records even if I didn’t get them for free from their label, and I try to see the band play live when they come to New York City. So, I felt very fortunate to get on the guest list to see these remorselessly southern rockers from Kentucky kick out a super tight but exhilarating 45 minute set last week, in support of the Sammy Hagar-fronted all star contingent Chickenfoot. Making sure to please both faithful and new fans, Black Stone Cherry’s three albums (2006’s eponymous debut, 2008’s Folklore and Superstition and 2011’s Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea) were equally represented within an eclectic 10-song set list.

Black Stone Cherry maintain a gritty enough modern edge to do battle with the fiercest head bangers, but what they remind me of at their creative core is The Allman Brothers with a touch of Hendrix. Surely no one could find fault with that. And any doubt of the veracity of this groups’ southern rock roots is laid to waste with Deep Blue Sea’s exceptional cover of The Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See,” on which Black Stone Cherry pay deep homage to the original tune while completely making it their own. It’s easy enough to casually toss out a phrase like “The Real Deal” when describing a blues-based rock band, but I’m not fronting when I say that Black Stone Cherry does their old school mentors proud in their ability to rock out and entertain without the need for any added bells and whistles. These guys just love music; and it shows. Front man Chris Robertson, who effortlessly tackles lead vocals and lead guitar owns a seasoned but fluid voice that delivers both rockers and ballads with equal power and finesse. As a front man, he’s cute but also burly and masculine. I dig his vibe. While bassist Jon Lawhon stays mostly anchored to the stage, his fretwork is top shelf, and it’s a lot of fun to watch rhythm guitarist Ben Wells work the stage, tirelessly leaping atop monitors, engaging the audience and heightening the energy of the room. But for me, the superstar of the band is drummer John Fred Young, who channels the thunder power of John Bonham in his attack on the kit while fully capturing the showmanship of a crowd-pleasing player like Tommy Lee. Young’s arms never stop moving. I could watch him play drums all day. Plus: Hot.

Black Stone Cherry had me and the rest of the crowd on our feet for most of their set (impressive for an opening act), and I love all of their songs, but the most memorable tune of the evening, I think, was “Blame It On The Boom Boom,” which, despite being somewhat dorky, keeps the decadence of the Rock Star Lifestyle alive with its message about the joys of bonking and getting wasted, or something like that. I doubt that any of these guys are Motley Crue-level partiers, but it certainly wasn’t lost on me that they chased “Boom Boom” with few bars of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” – a song I would love to see them cover on a future album.

See the Set List after the Jump!

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Van Halen at Madison Square Garden: The Set List

David Lee Roth, Alex and Eddie Van Halen at MSG
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Sometimes, life will surprise you. Van Halen is currently on an extensive US tour with original and wildly iconic front man David Lee Roth back on vocals and Eddie’s son Wolfgang on Bass. As an aside, I’ve attended maybe half a dozen David Lee Roth solo shows in the past decade – thanks to a friend of mine having been employed as DLR’s long-time drummer prior to him joining Korn. Dave was always in top form: leaping in the air and roundhouse kicking invisible foes all while hitting those illusive high notes, including the signature, primal yelps he practically trademarked. Because of Roth’s self-evident skill, I easily convinced myself that seeing the DLR Band cover Van Halen songs was essentially the same as seeing Van Halen live. Yes, I just typed that.

Fast forward a couple of years. When I got tickets to the first of Van Halen’s two sold-out shows at NYC’s Madison Square Garden, I seriously wasn’t expecting much. Certainly, I was not considering the possibility of there being any real “wow” factor involved, as I am rock and roll curmudgeon who basically thinks sentimentality is for shit when it comes to a legendary band reuniting with “most of its original members” and blah blah blah. Plus, did you read any of Sammy Hagar’s Heavy-on-the-Eddie-Van-Halen-bashing biography? Yeesh, what hot mess he makes Eddie out to be. And yet, I agreed to get on board for the show, along with a couple of friends, if only for nostalgia’s sake and the promise of an excuse to leave my house on a weeknight. Plus, maybe they would do “Everybody Wants Some,” and that song is just insane.

Well, last night I had a true Come to Jesus moment when Van Halen took the stage for a nearly 2 hour aural assault and reminded me why they are the legends that they are, and why DLR is phoning it in without his on again off again band mates. Because without Eddie Van Halen’s incomparble guitar chops, without Alex the drummer god pounding out the heavy metal thunder and – most importantly – without the Van Halen family’s backing vocals and distinctive harmonies, Roth can’t possibly do a Van Halen song justice. Jesus god, what a great show.

If you weren’t inside Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, this is what you missed.

You Really Got Me
Running with the Devil
She’s The Woman
Romeo Delight
Tattoo
Everybody Wants Some (!!)
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
China Town
Hear About It Later
Oh, Pretty Woman
Drum Solo
Unchained
The Trouble With Never
Dance The Night Away
I’ll Wait
Hot For Teacher
Women in Love
Girls Gone Bad
Beautiful Girls
Ice Cream Man
Panama
Eruption (Guitar Solo)
Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love
Jump

Van Halen Tour Dates for 2012 are available at This Link. Get tickets while you can!

Maurizio Cattelan’s All Retrospective at the Guggenheim

It was a few weeks ago now, back on November 11, 2011, that I had my first in person experience with Italian-born artist Maurizio Cattelan’s most unusual retrospective exhibit, All, when I visited the Guggenheim that Friday evening for a live performance by the very excellent pop band, MGMT. The band performed a tight, 45 minutes set of mostly instrumental new material specifically inspired by the 128 separate works now suspended from the ceiling oculus of the museum’s rotunda. The songs fell very much within the surf-psychedelia vein of MGMT’s well-loved sound with a bit of a soundtrack vibe befitting the evening’s experiencing in general. Also, gee whiz, but what a spectacularly hallucination-inducing light show they had! I’m still having flashbacks. Music! Art!

The following week I had to pay another visit to the museum to take in All once again, because when I was there for the MGMT show I had a beer in my hand and the Art Nazis (guards) wouldn’t let me go up past the second ramp with a beer. And you really do need to trek all the way to the top of the ramp to fully experience the innumerable subtle nuances of this exhibit, which literally reveals itself further and further at every turn. The time lapse video above shows the installation process by the museum staff, which will answer your most pressing questions about “just how they got that stuff up there.” See it while you can.

Maurizio Cattelan’s All is on Exhibit until January 22, 2012 at the Guggenheim, Located at Fifth Avenue and 89th Street. Museum hours are extended to 7:45 PM on Monday and Tuesday nights (from 5:45 PM on other days) from December 6, 2011 to January 17, 2012. More information is available at This Link.

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