Posts By Jonathan Durbin


How It Feels To Be Poison’d


As previously noted, on Saturday, July 28, two of the writers of the blog attended the Poison concert at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J. It was, in a phrase, nothing but a good time. Here’s Jonathan Durbin on the live Poison’d experience.

  • ?Look what New Jersey dragged in!? shouted Bret Michaels during the opening salvo of Poison?s headlining show in Holmdel, New Jersey. He shouted it to the tune of ?Look What the Cat Dragged In.? Which they were playing. Loudly. The band was backed by explosions of green flame and showers of fireworks. Michaels wore True Religion jeans and generally looked like he?d been shopping on Melrose Avenue in L.A. West Coast rock stars are so into showing everybody the stitching on their clothes. What?s up with that?
  • The video projections behind the band included graphics from the band?s new album sleeve, Poison?d (featuring a female mouth with green lipstick, suggestively tonguing the band?s logo). At other times, the video featured abstract computer-generated art that was somehow reminiscent of a trip through a very long ear canal. Also: Flames. Flames were very popular.
  • Three members of Poison wore Poison T-shirts. The other, bassist Bobby Dall, wore a Venture Bros. T-shirt, a promotional item for a show on the Cartoon Network?s Adult Swim.
  • Bobby?s affinity for cartoons didn?t stop the blonde behind me from digging her elbows into my back in a whole-hearted attempt to climb over me, past security and onto the stage where she could worship him properly.
  • Bret changed headgear frequently. He started with the bandanna look, graduated to the woven straw cowboy hat and moved from there to a black leather number. Interesting to note: The hat was the element of his style most frequently appropriated by female fans. The guys seemed more into singing along with the songs. Particular favorites were ?I Want Action? and ?Nothin? But a Good Time.? He dedicated the latter to New Jersey. Literally. He said, ?New Jersey, this is your song!? New Jersey seemed to agree.
  • New Jersey also agreed with ?Every Rose Has Its Thorn.? During the power-ballad-to-end-all power ballads, audience members held aloft lighters and cell phones, casting the entire arena in an oddly soothing blue-orange light.
  • Backstage, meanwhile, cascades of sparks spewed from the rafters for a waterfall effect. That was one of the pyrotechnic effects that Bret?s manager had warned us about. She had asked us not to wander around backstage because we might burn our faces off. We didn?t burn our faces off, but there were times where it came close.
  • There were other duck-and-cover moments backstage. Mainly they involved keeping fingers in our ears. The explosions were loud. At other times, I saw stage hands running away from guitarist C.C. DeVille, who had a full-length mirror back there to primp his hair. Run and hide, stage hands! C.C.?s loose!
  • Poison played from 9:30 until 11 p.m. They kept the energy unflaggingly high all evening, which was more than Ratt (who opened). Ratt were loud, but not high-energy. Also, Ratt sound like they?re Irish. Who knew?


  • Post-show at Bret?s bus, a line of people maybe 25 deep had gathered to meet the man. There were a smattering of busty ladies, a few kids and some of Bret?s friends (like Tony, Bret?s tattoo artist — a wonderful guy). Only a few people were allowed on at a time. When we got onto the bus, we noted that the soundtrack Bret was using to entertain the crowd included songs by the Black Crowes and the Foo Fighters. It begged the question: What do rock stars listen to, exactly? Roadhouse rock, apparently.
  • Bret himself turned out to be a very generous and kind individual. He?s also Internet savvy. He?d been watching to see how many of his VSPOT clips from Rock of Love were in the top 10. How’s that for dedicated?

Click the shots taken during the show for larger versions:






And, after the jump there’s one more tidbit…

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Austin Translation: Menomena @ SXSW


Couldn?t make it to South by Southwest? Not to worry — we?ve got reports from the year?s premiere music festival. Menomena?s Brent Knopf fills us in.

What?s the inconvenient truth about South by Southwest?

This is the second time we?ve played the festival. Both times we?ve arrived in Austin there?s been these strange, End Times rainstorms. When we came in two years ago, all of a sudden the clouds unleashed their fury. There was flooding in the streets! We were only here for a couple of hours. This time we get to hang out and enjoy, but sure enough, when we arrived, there was massive flooding.

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Photos: SXSW ’07
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Elton?s Trouble in Paradise

Elton_john_2Church leaders on the island of Trinidad and Tobago are trying to ban Elton John from performing there. Not only did they say that the Rocket Man?s sexual orientation failed to conform to Biblical teaching, they also claimed that the famously gay star?s ?visit to the island can open the country to be tempted towards pursuing his lifestyle.? In honor of those carefully measured words, we?d like to announce Archdeacon Philip Isaac as our “Moron of the Week.”

T&T has a notoriously long anti-gay history, but that?s not going to stop Elton from doing his job at the Plymouth Jazz Festival – and to him we doff our caps, say thanks for the Almost Famous soundtrack and the Scissor Sisters, and wish him the best. Just don’t be shocked if you see some T&T taxpayers playing the hell out of the piano, wearing rose-colored glasses, and slagging off Madonna at press conferences – these things rub off. [Via This Is London]

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News_20x9 Artist Page: Elton John


Austin Translation: Young Love @ SXSW


Couldn’t make it to South By Southwest? Not to worry — we’ve got

reports from the frontlines of the year’s premiere music festival. Young Love’s singer Dan Keyes fills us in.

Talk about the frustration . . .

I don?t have a badge. I don?t have a bracelet. And I?m playing! It?s ridiculous. Last night, when I went to go see my friends play, I couldn?t even get in because I didn?t have a pass. So I was like, "All right, I?m going down to the east side." That?s where all the real parties are going down – in the warehouses and stuff.

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Mr. Wonderland Hits the Road

John_mayer_2Sensitive songwriter, witty comedian, and part-time bluesman John Mayer has announced the opening act for his upcoming tour: likeminded soul Ben Folds. He also announced his opening-opening acts: rocker Rocco DeLuca, indie-folkie Brett Dennen and just-add-a-beach-and-piano pop star James Morrison. The tour starts June 1st in Ridgefield, Washington, and goes for 38 dates – which is probably just long enough for Mayer to come up with some ideas for a new VH1 comedy show, a feature and in-book contest for Esquire, and a whole line of clothing for hipsters. What a guy. Check his tour dates here.

[Via Reuters]

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J.Hud: A Little R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Jennifer_hudson_1 Dept. of Foregone Conclusions: Aretha Franklin confirmed that Dreamgirls star (and Burger Queen) Jennifer Hudson was being considered for the lead role in a biopic about the soul legend. Franklin told Access Hollywood that she actually sees three different people playing the role, but didn?t reveal any names. Auditions for the stage musical, which will precede the filmed version of the story, begin May 1st, and as yet there?s no word on whether Hudson?s been asked to show up. Odds are she?s too famous for that now — after all, she?s even been awarded Jennifer Hudson Day in Chicago. We bet she?ll be in the film, though. What do you make of her chances?


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Photo_20x9_1 Photos: Jennifer Hudson


Lily vs. Amy: Catfight Part II


Smack-talking Britpop princess Lily Allen has lambasted this week?s Britpop princess, Amy Winehouse (much the way Lady Sovereign lambasted Lily a few weeks ago). In this week?s Entertainment Weekly, Allen discusses Winehouse?s hard-partying habits: ?She goes to all those parties . . . and hangs out with Kelly Osbourne and Kate Moss. I don’t understand that need to become famous.? This after Allen says, ?Nobody’s ever had a picture of me rolling out of a nightclub at five in the morning completely out of my head on Ecstasy, and coked out of my brains.? Allen vs. Winehouse? Who?s going to win that one?

[Via Entertainment Weekly]

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Photo_20x9_1 Photos: Amy Winehouse 
News_20x9 Artist Page: Amy Winehouse


LSD on Broadway


The flashback-inducing psychedelia of the Flaming Lips just got an official mainstream seal of approval: Lead art-agitator Wayne Coyne told Rolling Stone that he is in talks to turn his band?s last record, a concept album entitled Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, into a Broadway musical. (For a band that routinely played with Justin Timberlake in a rabbit costume, this isn’t much of a stretch.) Producer Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys) will help adapt the record for the stage. No word yet on whether or not the Playbill will be printed on blotter paper. Would you pay to do acid . . . we mean, see the Lips on the Great White Way?

[Via Rolling Stone]

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Photos: The Flaming Lips

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Hanson’s Weird Night Out



When it?s time to party, they will always party hard: Last night at New York City?s Supper Club, Hanson invited some special guests onstage – among them a winter-white-clad Andrew W.K. and Adam Green, formerly of scuzz-folk outfit the Moldy Peaches. The oddity was compounded by their collaborating on the set?s encore, a cover of Cat Stevens’s ?Peace Train.? Who said there was nothing new under the sun?

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Eye of the Tiger


Please pardon her appearance while she?s under construction: Britney?s new website is in the works. While she plots a way out of the unmitigated disaster her life has become, the once-great pop idol?s Internet staff has placed an image of a tiger on her site?s homepage, which morphs into Britney. The worst part? The audio, which also morphs – from a guttural Shere Khan growl to a huffle-puffy noise that recalls Tigger suffering an asthma attack.

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