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by (@unclegrambo)

Gala So Hard: Jay-Z Live At Carnegie Hall

“We gon’ step on all those lines that separate us tonight; you’re about to witness music at a very high level.”

Jay-Z made this characteristically bravado-laden declaration three songs into his set at New York City’s Carnegie Hall last night, the second of two charity shows benefiting the United Way and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation that he performed this week. Much has been said about cultural ramifications of a night like this, a triumphant chapter in a rags to riches story so improbable that Horatio Alger himself would never have envisioned penning it. It was clear from the outset of the show that Jay-Z had every intention of delivering on that ambitious bill of goods —when was the last time anyone attempted to put on a hip hop show featuring a 20-plus piece symphony orchestra for an audience filled with (primarily rich white) people in suits?—but by the end of the show, I couldn’t help but feel like he wasn’t quite able to achieve both of those audacious goals equally.

First, the scene. Carnegie Hall is one of our country’s most legendary musical venues, and also one of our most exclusive. Not just anyone is allowed to perform here, nor is just anyone necessarily allowed to attend a gig there. As a means of showing respect to the 121-year-old venue and all that it symbolizes, attendees of this two-night stand were encouraged to dress formally for the occasion; like a good general, Hov made sure to follow his own directive. Taking the stage a few minutes after 10 p.m. in white tuxedo jacket, black tux pants, a dapper black bow-tie and stylish shades, J-Hova looked like the long lost sixth member of the Rat Pack as he performed “Public Service Announcement” off his 2003 LP, The Black Album. The audience ate it up, leaping to their feet and waving their well-manicured hands in the air like they just didn’t care, perhaps no one more so than his wife Beyoncé. The new mom snuck into her box seat (stage right, closest to the stage) just as the house lights dimmed and proceeded to emphatically dance in a standing position for most of the show’s nearly two-hour runtime.

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by (@kat_george)

Last Lap: Beyonce Will Release “End Of Time” As Her Next Single

Beyoncé Will Release “End Of Time” As Her Next Single
New mom Beyoncé is set to release “End Of Time” from her 2011 album 4 as her next single. Makes sense — we can’t imagine that Bey is ready to get back to work on new material so soon after the bub, and of course the world is keen for more from Mamma Knowles. So she’s doing the best she can to appease our hungry eyes and ears, not that we ever had any doubt she would. [Pop Dust]

Lana Del Rey Is Swarmed By Hysterical Fans
You know you’ve made it when you have fans that cry hysterically in your presence. Lana Del Rey‘s fans shed more than a few tears, overwhelmed in her presence at a signing at Amoeba Records. [Hipster Runoff]

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by (@kat_george)

Ellie Goulding’s New Video For “Lights” Is More Brilliant Than Blinding

Ellie Goulding‘s new video for “Lights” is flashy, but it’s more brilliant than it is blinding. Featuring a glowing Goulding singing the dance-led track back lit by a glorious halo of clean light, the song has club anthem written all over it. Goulding begins playing the tambourine, and transitions to drums as the video picks up its pace. There are some great moments where Goulding is frozen in time, in a 360 degree view, surrounded by neon illustrations. If Goulding’s hair shaking and drum bashing while neon laser beams flash around her doesn’t get you dancing, then it’s probable that nothing will. Bright and fun, were thinking “Lights” is the perfect song to lead into spring toe tapping along with.

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by (@kat_george)

Kelly Clarkson Is “Stronger” Than Adele On This Week’s Charts

Last week we wondered if Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” could topple Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain” to take the number one spot on the Billboard 100, after the song snuck up to number two, just behind the dominating Adele. Well, our Kelly has done us proud in the chart battle of the divas, usurping the as yet undefeated Adele to steal first. “Stronger” is Kelly’s third number one hit after 2002′s “A Moment Like This” and 2009′s “My Life Would Suck Without You.” We’re huge Adele fans, but we’re also pretty stoked to see Kelly take the lead — it’s wonderful that the top spot is getting shared amongst such deserving ladies! And the icing on the cake? Both ladies will be performing at this weekend’s Grammy awards show — it will be Adele’s first live performance since recovering from vocal chord surgery, and for Kelly the show will follow her moving rendition of the national anthem at last weekend’s Super Bowl.

54th Annual Grammy Awards will air on Sunday February 12th at 8 PM ET on CBS.

Kelly Clarkson Drives ‘Stronger’ to Hot 100 Summit [Billboard]

[Photos: Getty Images]

by (@kat_george)

Beach Boys To Perform For The First Time In More Than 20 Years At The Grammys With Maroon 5 And Foster The People

Grammy fever is surging ahead of Sunday’s awards ceremony. And if this latest announcement doesn’t get you giddy with excitement, then we’re afraid nothing can help you. The surviving members of The Beach Boys will perform for the first time in over 20 years at the Grammys — and will be joined by Maroon 5 and Foster The People! Knowing our excitement at merely playing witness to the iconic occasion, we can only imagine the pure happiness that the Foster boys and Maroon 5 must be feeling to be included in what will surely be a moment to remember.

The Beach Boys lineup will include Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Mark, and in addition to the Grammys, The Boys will be touring and recording a new album. Of the reunion, Brian Wilson said, “I miss the boys and it will be a thrill for me to make a new record and be on stage with them again.” The Beach Boys will be joining a legendary cast of performers for what is set to be a spectacular Grammys stage, including Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Adele, a duet from Coldplay and Rihanna, Foo Fighters, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars and Jason Aldean.

Beach Boys Reunion Begins at Grammys, With Foster the People & Maroon 5 [Billboard]

[Photos: Getty Images]

by (@kat_george)

Do You Think Black Sabbath Can Reform Without Bill Ward? Fans Say No Way On Facebook!

Last week we reported that Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward was reluctant to sign a contract for the reformation of the band for a reunion tour and new album. Of the contract, Ward said, “I would love nothing more than to be able to proceed with the Black Sabbath album and tour, however, I am unable to continue unless a ‘signable’ contract is drawn up; a contract that reflects some dignity and respect toward me as an original member of the band. Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another ‘unsignable’ contract was handed to me. If I sign as-is, I stand to lose my rights, dignity and respectability as a rock musician.”

Now it seems like Black Sabbath are preparing to go forward with the reunion — with or without Ward. Rumours are rife that the band has already lined up a replacement drummer, but fans are not going to take it lying down. A Facebook group has popped up, called “1,000,000 Black Sabbath fans say yes to Bill Ward,” and as of right now the group has 11,113 likes. The pages’ mission statement simply states, “We all feel that any Black Sabbath Reunion must include original drummer Bill Ward.” It also includes statements like, “Thin Lizzy sounded better the minute Brian Downing rejoined the band, UFO always sounds better with Andy Parker behind the kit, I can’t imagine Deep Purple without Ian Paice. No Bonzo = No Led Zeppelin. The Who ain’t The Who without Keith. Bill Ward is the drummer for Black Sabbath!!”

What do you think? Do you think Black Sabbath can go ahead without Bill Ward? Will you be joining the Facebook protest? Or do you think another drummer would suit the line up just fine? Let us know in the poll below!

Black Sabbath Fans Rally Behind Bill Ward As Group Reportedly Finds Replacement Drummer [Ultimate Classic Rock]
1,000,000 Black Sabbath fans say yes to Bill Ward [Facebook]

[Photo: Getty Images]

by (@kat_george)

The 6 Best Sets Of Devastated Raccoon Eyes In Music Video History

Oh, heartbreak! We’ve all felt it’s cruel pincers nipping at our heart at one time or another, and we’ve all at some point cried the devastated tears of loss. And let’s be real — we’ve probably listened to one of our favorite pop stars sing about the whole sordid palaver while we’ve wallowed in our own despair. So that got us to thinking of the expressiveness of sadness in music videos, and the one motif that seems consistent across the songs of different artists — black mascara tears. Because musicians are not always the best actors, and because of the highly visual spectacle of pop music, dramatic smudged raccoon eyes in scenes where the stars are crying seems like a go to for the more melancholy songs. With that in mind, we’ve selected our favorite runny raccoon eyes — have we missed any? What are your faves?

1. Beyoncé – “Why Don’t You Love Me?”
Beyoncé wins best panda eyes on the strength of melodrama. Oh, and because she looks really hot in vintage style lingerie. Clearly tortured, Beyoncé’s panda eyes are paired with martinis, cigarettes, and just the right amount of crazy to make the whole thing unbearably sexy.

2. Katy Perry – “The One That Got Away”

There’s so much emotion in the scene where Katy Perry is crying in her future self’s wardrobe in “The One That Got Away” that we just want to give the girl a big hug. Katy gets points for realism — we’re pretty sure that even without the panda eyes we’d still feel the heartbreak.

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by (@kat_george)

Tuned In: Posted Artist The Fray Performs A Pulsing “Heartbeat” On Letterman

VH1′s Posted artist, The Fray, played their pulsing track “Heartbeat” on Letterman last night. With a pounding beat and emotionally resonant lyrics, The Fray bought their brand of soaring rock-pop to the stage for a stirring performance. Frontman Isaac Slade’s high notes were impeccable, and he even took a moment to get amongst the audience in a spine tingling display of camaraderie that fit with the themes of the song and powerful music.

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by (@kat_george)

Evan Dando Parties In Phoenix, Posts Questionable Afterparty Photo To Twitter

Evan Dando has always been one of the music world’s free spirits. From his days in the Lemonheads, to his short-lived affair with Courtney Love, there’s always been aspects of the rock rebel in his persona. Now his sense of candid charm is coming through on Twitter, after he posted this hilarious photo of some… er… questionable post-concert behavior in Phoenix. Have a look and see for yourself after the jump, but be warned, it’s NSFW. And NSFN, too (Not Safe For Noses).

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by (@kat_george)

Prepare To Give Madonna Even More Luvin’ As She Announces A World Tour

Madonna‘s riding the hype train and it doesn’t look like she’s disembarking any time soon. The Queen Of Pop, following her spectacular Super Bowl show (which was overshadowed by that middle finger), has announced that she’ll be taking to the road on tour to promote her forthcoming album, MDNA. The tour will kick of on May 29th in Tel Aviv and will continue until it wraps up States side in late November.

We’re guessing the tour will be just as much as a visual feast as the Super Bowl, and we fancy that Madge will play some of the classic hits too, but what we’re really curious about is the guests. Will she have any? Will she bring M.I.A. back for “Give Me All Your Luvin’” after The Bird Flip That Stopped The World Turning (it’s still unclear as to whether or not the incident was staged, or if Madonna is furious with Maya or not)? Or will Nicki be left to cover both rappers parts, after she behaved like such a good little girl for Mamma Madonna at the Super Bowl?

Madonna Announces North American Tour [Prefix]
2012 World Tour – Official Press Release [Madonna.com]

[Photo: Getty Images]