by (@unclegrambo)

Five Dead And Dozens Injured When Stage Collapses At Sugarland Concert (UPDATED)

UPDATE (8/14/11 @ 1:00 p.m.): WTHR has reported that a fifth person has been confirmed dead. [WTHR]

UPDATE (11:43 p.m.): WTHR is now reporting that four people are confirmed deceased, and another 46 injured. [@breakingnews]

Tonight, Indianapolis’ NBC affiliate WTHR is reporting that four three people were killed and dozens more injured when the stage collapsed moments before country superstars Sugarland were scheduled to perform in concert at the Indiana State Fair. A wind shear is believed to have been the cause of collapse of the stage rigging, which fell onto concertgoers standing in the “Sugarpit,” an area filled with the band’s most rabid fans. Amateur video of the stage collapsing was posted to YouTube; we have the disturbing footage for you above.

The Grammy Award winning band, who performed at our 2010 VH1 Divas Salute The Troops, quickly responded to the tragedy on the official Sugarland website:

Your prayers needed.

We are all right after our stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair tonight. Many of our fans and friends in Indianapolis may not be. Please keep them in your thoughts, prayers, or whatever form of strength you are able to send. They need you. Thank you.

This is the third major stage collapse to occur at a concert in the last month. On July 18, a stage collapsed after a Cheap Trick performance at the Ottawa Bluesfest, resulting in a handful of hospitalizations. Then, just this past weekend, a Flaming Lips performance was canceled when their stage collapsed due to gusting winds.

Our condolences go out to all of the families who were affected by this horrible tragedy.

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by (@unclegrambo)

R.I.P. Jani Lane (1964-2011)

We’ve got terrible news to pass along to you this morning. TMZ is reporting that Jani Lane, ex-frontman of the glam metal band Warrant, was found dead in a Los Angeles area hotel last night at the age of 47. A cause of death has yet to be determined.

Lane, along with his band, rose to fame in the late eighties when the glam (some would say “hair”) metal scene of the Sunset Strip exploded in popularity. Warrant’s debut album, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich, was released by Columbia Records and was somewhat of an unexpected hit. The LP, powered by the smash power ballad “Heaven” (video below), cracked the Billboard Top Ten and positioned the band for even bigger things with the release of 1990′s Cherry Pie. The title track of that record, thanks in large part to its innuendo-laden lyrics, is remembered as one of the raunchier songs and videos of the era, and launched star (and future wife of Lane’s) Bobbi Brown into pin-up status.

By most accounts, the last few years have been difficult for Lane. After struggling with alcohol issues, he appeared on VH1′s Celebrity Fit Club 2 in 2005 and seemed to get his life back on track. However, he fell back into old habits and served nearly four months in jail in 2010 after receiving his second DUI. His body was found in a hotel room of the Comfort Inn in Woodland Hills, California last night.

Ex-Warrant Singer Jani Lane DEAD AT 47 [TMZ]

[Photo: Getty Images]


For The Next 24 Hours Only, Check Out Jay-Z And Kanye’s New Music Video For “Otis”

Get More: Jay-Z, Otis, Music Videos

“Otis” is huge. (As Funkmaster Flex put it, “This record might keep the summer warm till December.”) Kanye West and Jay-Z‘s Watch the Throne is almost omnipresent and all but guaranteed to hit #1 on the Billboard 200. How do you make a music video for the Otis Redding-sampling single off the record that drips with signifiers of wealth, without turning out some sort of baroque grotesquerie?

Hiring Spike Jonze is a good start. The acclaimed director is also quite the stylistic shapeshifter; the child-acted “Sky’s the Limit” was a clever way to make a Notorious B.I.G. video after the rapper’s untimely death, but it was also a spot-on homage to the Hype Williams videos of the mid-1990s (including a kid version of Busta Rhymes on a television showing a kid version of the Williams-directed “Woo-Hah! Got You All In Check”). Jonze’s “Otis” runs down a short checklist (using that Hype Williams fisheye, of course):

1. Best buddies Kanye and Jay-Z (don’t miss the part where Jay-Z’s right behind Kanye, mouthing along with Kanye’s lyrics about his Benzes. It’s freakin’ adorable);

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by (@unclegrambo)

Behind The Music Sneak Preview: Ricky Martin’s Fight For Equality

With specials focused on the lives and careers of music industry powerhouses like Adam Lambert, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, it’s been quite an outstanding season of Behind The Music thus far. That hot streak continues this weekend with the premiere of Behind The Music: Ricky Martin (which, sadly, is the last episode of this season).

In this special sneak preview from the show that debuts this Sunday, August 14, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, international superstar Ricky Martin finally seems to be at peace. After having to deal with gossipmongers trying to reveal secrets about his sexuality ever since he rose to fame as a member of Menudo, he’s now living his life openly and honestly. He’s been in a steady relationship with Puerto Rican financier Carlos Gonzalez, which has helped give him the strength to lead the fight for equality on both the sexual and cultural fronts. “Who wants to feel like a second class citizen?”, he explains. “That’s why I say about equality, ‘I don’t want more rights than you. I want the same. That’s all.’”

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Mel C The Latest Brit To Chide Rihanna’s Sexualization

Funny?we just told you about a provocateur of a previous generation taking issue with one from the current generation, and here we are again, telling you about a provocateuse of a previous generation taking issue with…you get the idea. Mel C, formerly of the Spice Girls, told The Daily Mirror yesterday that “Women in music, very successful women, are extremely sexual and they have young fans. It is inappropriate.” She singles out Rihanna (whom she considers “a f–king brilliant artist, with great songs [and] a great record”), probably because of controversy in the UK about “S&M,” and particularly its video.

Even on this topic Mel C can’t seem to make up her mind. She’s not clear on what makes the current controversy any different than those that surrounded the Spice Girls a decade and change ago, saying only that “although culture?s always changing, it?s changed too much.” She also says both that “Rihanna has responsibility” and that “Rihanna?s free to do as she pleases.”

We do understand and share Mel C’s concern regarding “over-sexualisation of young children” (she cites her daughter Scarlet as the motivating factor of this criticism) but we don’t believe that the buck necessarily stops with the pop stars themselves. Rihanna, in particular, seems very thoughtful about these issues, as she demonstrated in her Glamour interview. Even still, no parent can protect against everything in a hegemonic patriarchy.

Rihanna Is ‘Inappropriately Sexual’ According to Former Spice Girl Mel C [AOL Music]

[Image: Getty Images]


Steve Albini To Odd Future: Sit Down And Be Quiet When You’re On The Shuttle Bus

On Monday night, Tyler, the Creator of Odd Future took a break from live-tweeting his attempts “to take a photo of [his] fart” to lash out at cook and poker enthusiast Steve Albini. The rapper was defending himself against Albini’s claims that, on a shuttle bus leaving the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona in May, Odd Future used the word “n—a” frequently, cursed the bus driver, and bragged about how much they’d been paid at the festival.

Albini is also a noted musician and record producer (which is why Tyler felt the “need” to respond) whose recording studio Electrical Audio has a vibrant web forum (its members have even gathered for festivals). Albini’s beef with Odd Future, which in sum has more to do with them being punk kids (or as he put it, “little self-satisfied a—–e scrubs”) than anything else, was actually a series of posts in a thread on the Electrical Audio subforum “Crap/Not Crap,” in which its members give up-or-down votes on a given topic and then give reasons why.

A number of the gear-minded rock fans in the forum’s community dismiss rap outright, which is why Albini makes pains not to characterize the collective as stupid or untalented, and given Albini’s recording and production history it’s unsurprising that he defends their right to make “ugly art” even as he decries their behavior.

That said, here are Albini’s charges:
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by (@Lacezilla)

Gary Clark Jr.’s Rousing NYC Concert Performance Puts Him On The Brink Of Stardom

On Tuesday night, the wildly talented musician and singer Gary Clark Jr. stood in with The Roots on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, jamming on his guitar and singing “Bright Lights” from his newly released four-song EP of the same name. Earlier that night, a showcase for the Austin, Texas native was held in swanky Soho House in New York City, and a who’s who of music execs, critics and press were in attendance. Naturally, when we heard that Clark was performing at Rockwood Music Hall last night, we had to go check out his show; while he came to play a short acoustic set for VH1 staffers last month, you could tell he was holding back the some of the nastier funk that comes along with being backed by a rhythm section.

Sure enough (and much to our delight), last night’s 75-minute set was impressive to a staggering degree. At age 27, Gary has already been compared to some of classic rock’s greats, invoking the guitar chops of Clapton and Hendrix and, with a broad vocal range, he’ll purr an Eddie Kendricks falsetto one minute and growl a B. B. King guttural tone the next. The music he unveiled crossed blues and soul with elements of jazz, funk and hip hop, but was also laced with smacking drums and rousing guitar solos that had Clark in a very clear, introverted, eyes-closed zone.

With lyrics like “I don’t owe you a thing, I ain’t buying you no diamond ring” and “If you love me like you say, why you trippin’ like you do?,” it’s clear that Clark holds the blues near and dear to his being. However, his multi-dimensional sonic flavor was embraced by the models, frat boys, music snobs, and hipsters present, which allowed him to flaunt an effortless malleabilty that could be paired well with any of your favorite artists, regardless of genre or time period. ?uestlove was in the house as well, hanging with Zoe Kravitz (who is apparently a longtime friend of Clark’s). And now, on the heels of a glowing Rolling Stone review of his Bright Lights EP, we’re certain that Clark’s star is on the rise, and the young talent has many years and many full-length albums ahead of him.


Military Rendition Proves There’s Room For One More “Rolling In The Deep” Cover

The long reign of Adele‘s “Rolling in the Deep”?on the radio and on the charts?may soon be coming to an end, but even though it seems like everyone has tried their hand at a cover of the song, this performance by a group of American military personnel serving in the Middle East is well-executed enough that the song seemed almost fresh again. The video was uploaded by AreYouSuprised [sic], an anonymous serviceman who has been anonymously video-blogging his struggle with coming out in the military as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell winds down. Judging from his friend’s non-reaction, the uploader might get more flak (pardon the pun) for capturing some of his peers on film not wearing their requisite reflective safety belts.

Military Band’s “Rolling in the Deep” Cover Sure Beats Those Annoying Techno Remixes [EW Popwatch]
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Tuned In: Ximena Sariñana Brings Something “Different” To Leno

A disclaimer: yes, Ximena Sariñana is our latest You Oughta Know artist (and Jay Leno even said as much before her Tonight Show performance yesterday). That said, we swear it’s not favoritism when we say she had the best musical performance of the night. Sariñana, now scaled way up from her You Oughta Know Live backing band (that is to say, her brother Sebastian), remains the focal point without losing any of the elements of the song. Kudos, for example, to whomever put the drums behind plexiglass so the drummer could really pound out the rhythm without bleeding into everyone else’s microphones.

That commitment to power and clarity is key to why Sariñana has our ears. In all honesty, we’ve developed a bit of an allergy to quirk of late, and while she sometimes toes that line, she the requisite rock sensibility to keep that from overwhelming her sound. Does she use a variety of sonic elements? Sure. But is it precious? Hardly.

Sariñana’s closest competition for best performance of the night was not Ellie Goulding (whose performance of “Lights”—a good song—was capable but uninspired) nor Incubus (who sounded much better on Jimmy Kimmel Live! than they did recently on Letterman, but whose new single isn’t doing much for us), but Questlove and “Captain” Kirk Douglas of The Roots, performing part of Song Of The Summer contender “Party Rock Anthem” as Black Simon and Garfunkel for a brief “Suggestion Box” sketch on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:
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Michelle Branch Makes “Loud Music” With Her Band, Her Beau

Back in June, Michelle Branch was in the building to perform her single “Loud Music” on Big Morning Buzz Live, and it was certainly a good performance. Even still, the song’s called “Loud Music” and Branch played it acoustically (she herself quipped afterward, “It’s not right”). With that in mind, we’re glad to premiere the video for the plugged-in single.

The clip tells two simultaneous stories: the literal one, in which Branch and her band goof off on tour, listening to?and performing?loud music, and the figurative one, told out of chronological order, in which Michelle Branch meets-cute in a record store and she and the dude (who, it should be noted, has some wicked sideburns) “make loud music” together. Branch is too cool and composed for anything so gauche as a Katy Perry stage wink, so you just have to put it together yourself.

“Loud Music” is premiering on air during this week’s VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown Saturday at 9 a.m. ET/PT (after which point it will be eligible for next week’s countdown). Does the clip pass muster? Your vote will help decide.
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