The party’s over, the circus has left town, the finale of the 2012 Hard Rock Calling music festival is over and done, and we’re getting so misty-eyed that we can barely see the keyboard. Luckily the powers that be gave us one hell of a parting gift: Paul Simon performing all of Graceland with the original Ladysmith Black Mambazo backing group! It’s hard to feel too bad with music like that swirling in our ears. Rest assured folks, he’s still crazy after all these years.
But we’re getting way too ahead of ourselves. Today was something of a gentler day for the HRC lineup. If yesterday was a competition to see who could rock out the hardest (and loudest), today was more of an exploration of the many different possibilities within music, from country to gospel to african rhythm to reggae and beyond. It was truly a grab-bag in the finest sense: every set was an unexpected winner, full of songs you never knew you loved. There was something of a late sixties NorCal festival vibe in their air when we arrived. The English summer sun was shining, and we saw young women brandishing tambourines wandering the muddy grounds in lacy shirts with daisy chains in their hair (really). Plus we saw some seriously outstanding mustaches, which were definitely worth the price of admission.
We got there just in time to hear Robert Randolph ripping it up on a pedal steel guitar with his Family Band. Part blues, part funk and all awesome, their break-neck jams gave us as badly needed wakeup jolt. “We only got two hours sleep last night!” Robert yelled from the stage in between numbers. So did we Bob, and right now we barely have enough energy to lift a can of Red Bull to our lips! How does he do it?!
You just heard Elle King‘s “Playing For Keeps,” the outstanding Mob Wives: Chicago theme song. Elle told us, when she swung through our offices ahead of the show’s premiere, that she thinks it’s “so cool” that she has a television theme song of her own, and especially so for “such a gangster show.” She wrote the song for people who might have lost their way, she says, before adding with a wink, “like in the mob. Not that it exists. I’m not saying nothing!”
“Playing for Keeps” easily earns its place with the greats, and so we figured we would have Elle share with us her five favorites from the canon. Amongst them is a classic that she still knows all the words to, another that’s always stuck in her head, and that one has her jonesing for a vampire make-out sesh every time. And then, because she’s a little wild like that, she threw in a bonus 6th favorite. Check it out!
Say it with us now: BRUUUUUUUUUUCEEEEE!! It’s Day Two of the 2012 Hard Rock Calling music festival, and though we had a fantastic roaster of rock ‘n’ rollers on the bill today, there’s one name that shines over the rest. No offense Lady Antebellum, John Fogerty, Tom Morello, Dawes, Gary Clark Jr and the rest of the twenty-three acts who got loud in London – but there was something special in the air tonight. And it smelled like the swamps of Jersey. Bruce Springsteen turned rock performance into an Olympic event, offering up one of his frenzied three hour music marathons. We laughed, we cried, we rocked.
Arriving to Hyde Park in the afternoon, we got the impression that the already-massive festival site had somehow grown even bigger! At first we thought it was just in our heads, but apparently it was true. Organizers have reportedly sold 80 thousands tickets, so many that the gates had to be moved farther back to accommodate the influx of international fans wanting to be honorary Garden State-ers for the night.
We got there just in time to see The Nightwatchman, better known as Tom Morello, take to the stage. Never one to hold back, the former Rage Against The Machine guitarist is still raging, offering a passionately political set in which he touched on everything from the worldwide financial crisis to a British fireman’s strike. In honor of what would have been musical protest pioneer Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday, Morello did a fiery rendition of the late singer’s “Ease My Revolutionary Mind,” fitting in shoutouts to Springsteen, Fogerty and other acts on the bill. “If he were alive today, he would be on the front lines of Occupy movement,” Morello said of Guthrie, who passed away in 1967.
Rules are rules in England, and nobody is above them. Not even Bruce Springsteen and Sir Paul McCartney! The Boss brought out the Beatle to lend at hand at the end of his headlining set for day two of the Hard Rock Calling music festival in Hyde Park. Eighty thousand music fans were treated to two historic duets: “I Saw Her Standing There” and an epic sprawling version of “Twist and Shout” that really let the E-Street band stretch its legs while Bruce and Paul took turns on the call and response vocals. For ten minutes we the crowd was in musical heaven, but then suddenly the tunes started getting quieter and quieter. It was thought (at least by us) that the band was simply playing softer. But soon Bruce went up to speak into the mic and nothing seemed to come out. He spoke for several minutes while Paul and lead guitarist Stevie Van Zandt looked on, but the words were still inaudible to the crowd. Eventually he gave up trying to play another song, shrugged, took a bow with the band and walked off.
Check out video of the incident below (if you want to cut to the chase, fast-forward to about the 10 minute mark):
Soundgarden headlined the first day of London’s Hard Rock Calling festival yesterday, and VH1 caught up with frontman Chris Cornell and lead guitarist Kim Thayil minutes before they hit the stage. And they knew this wasn’t just any ordinary gig. “It’s in Hyde Park and it’s with the Stooges,” Chris told us. “So those are the two ingredients that make it special for me.” Kim agrees, admitting to being in awe of Iggy Pop and Co. “They’re a huge influence on us, and they weren’t together during most of our career.”
Speaking of not being together, Soundgarden themselves reunited in January 2010 after 14 long years apart. They’re currently in the midst of recording their first new album since 1996′s “Down On The Upside,” due fore release later this year. Despite this apparently harmony, we couldn’t help asking them if any of the old tension ever reared its ugly head while on the road? Oh yeah, we went there! “It’s been good, it’s been cool, it’s been relaxed,” Chris told us. “For our first international touring, we were in our twenties and we scoured the Earth in a van, which we drove. We moved our own gear and played every little hamlet in every country we were in. Now it’s much more relaxed. We don’t drive. It’s great, it’s fun.”
While we were on the topic reunions and jamming with old friends, we asked Chris if he’d ever reform Temple of the Dog, his early 90s side project with the Pearl Jam crew and Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron. “I don’t know, you never know,” he laughed. “The only times that’s ever happens seems to be once every ten years at a Pearl Jam show. Especially with Matt now being in Pearl Jam.” The drummer joined Pearl Jam following the breakup of Soundgarden back in 1997, and since the reunion Cameron’s pulling double duty with both bands. “If I walk onstage and sing with Pearl Jam, it’s Temple of the Dog. So that’s happened. And it’s always really fun.” Who knows, maybe someday we’ll get another album from them too? Grunge fans can dream…
What Olympics? The Hard Rock Calling music festival is on every Londoner’s lips this weekend, as organizers turned the legendary Hyde Park into a not-so-small city within a city. One shop keeper warned us that it was going to “piss down with rain,” but that didn’t stop thousands of music lovers who turned up in their wellies yesterday for a chance to hear Soundgarden, Iggy and the Stoogesand more! No fair weather fans here, folks.
While the festival is (and should be) all about the music, the first thing that hits you as your enter that site is the sheer size. This site is a sight, man. A whopping four stages lay within the rock compound, and depending on where you stand at any given moment, the experience can be like listening to a radio jammed between two frequencies. Wall-to-wall food stands offer any kind of fare you could possibly imagine, but the backstage realm is pure fantasy. Located literally right behind the main pavilion, this miniature resort boasts a full sized pool, a vintage double decker bus with an open air cafe on top, a spa, a DJ booth, a full bar and a separate bar specializing in Red Bull concoctions, a bakery, a photo booth, a smaller stage for intimate performances, and a candy cart. Rock and roll!
Before things got moving at full speed, we caught a band called Cold Chisel on the main stage. We weren’t familiar ourselves, but if you imagine a musical love child of The Who and Guns & Roses raised in the outback of Australia, you’ll have a decent approximation of these burly blokes. Despite knowing very little (ok, none) of their songs, they were actually incredibly fun and delivered some pretty sweet pub rock from lead singer Jimmy Barnes. Any band who greets the crowd with a “How the f–k are ya!? This is a song about pies and chicks!” gets our seal of approval!
Looks like Katy Perry‘s taste in bra-tops hews not just sickly sweet but, perhaps, life endangering, too! According to The Sun, insurers have voiced concern regarding Katy’s bold sartorial choices. Namely, they are worried about a certain peppermint number (see above) and all its moving parts, because it’s wheels apparently catch her hair and put her at risk for “high level of strain on her neck.” We wouldn’t want that for Katy either, but as far as we are concerned, those few moving parts pale in comparison to some of her more unusual garments past. Nary a household object is safe when Katy Perry is getting dressed, and that we don’t ever want to change. We do, however hope, that she’s keeping safe.
And so we present, Katy Perry’s 5 most death-defying outfits: Read more…
The gents of Aerosmith definitely have something of a reputation. A reputation for wailing guitar riffs, as well as for owning the radio waves with each new single. They’ve got a penchant for rocking hard on stage (and off!), and for dreaming big when it comes to casting their music videos. Earlier this week, they debuted their new Kill Bill-meets-Whip It clip for “Legendary Child,” —their first video in nearly eight years— and sure enough, it’s led by an all-grown up Alexa Vega (who, as a much younger girl, starred in the Spy Kids franchise!). A band may be getting older, but their taste in heroines remains ever as young and as beautiful. Hotties like Alicia Silverstone, Eva Mendes, and even Steven’s own daughter, Liv Tyler, have been starring in their videos for years. So, which of their video vixens reigns supreme? Join along as we break it down for you!
Who runs the world–girls! And running the world is much easier when you link up with like-minded bad girl rebels. On Wednesday night the streets of LA were a tad bit quieter when megastars Lindsay Lohan, Lady Gaga and Lana Del Rey got together for a slumber party at Chateau Marmont hotel. That’s not to say they didn’t have their own little party in the privacy of their hotel room. According to X17online, a source revealed to them that the threesome spent the night playing board games and watching movies. Ohmygosh! If only we could’ve been a fly on the wall to hear all the naughty things they discussed.
Before their slumber party Lady Gaga and Lindsay Lohan had such a great dinner that Gaga tweeted to her new friend, “when you ordered a cucumber and a knife to the bar last night i thought your were gonna perform a vasectomy #justaskinnyb***h.” Gaga followed up with a Twitpic of a knife stuck in a large cucumber with the caption, “@lindsaylohan how much could one do with this arrangement!” The tweets have since been deleted, but Lindsay’s short response has not been: “#skinnysnack1 @ladygaga hahaha.” Forget about the knife in the cucumber, these three girls together are dangerous! Cucumber snacks, movies and board games are a recipe for trouble. A real triple threat.
It’s true. People don’t buy albums in massive numbers like the distant days of the 80s or 90s where going triple platinum wasn’t uncommon. That said, R&B sensation Frank Ocean is projected to do big numbers after digitally releasing Channel Orange a week early on iTunes after his appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The Def Jam artist is expected to open with 110,000-125,000 sales just from an iTunes release, which is pretty impressive considering he’s a new artist and had no additional retail push. Considering veteran Usher opened with 128,000 for Looking 4 Myself and Chris Brown topped charts at No. 1 with 134,000 sales for Fortune‘s opening week, Ocean’s slated success is a testament that fans will buy what they believe is quality music. Read more…