The perfect man does not exist in reality, but if he did, he?d probably be a little sumthin? sumthin? like Maxwell. Harnessing the perfect concoction of modesty, confidence and unapologetic vulnerability (and did we mention the voice of an angel?), it?s no surprise that the soulful singer/songwriter maintains a fan base that is notorious for teeter-tottering into obsession. Last night, in a warm, packed room full of cooing and swooning in East Harlem, Maxwell brought the house down during a performance that, according to him, was literally ?fifteen years in the making.?
“We share a birthday,” announced VH1 Storytellers Executive Producer and show creator Bill Flanagan to the room of sweat-glistened super-fans during the taping?s introduction. And we do! Just as VH1 celebrates fifteen years of Storytellers, Maxwell celebrates the same milestone of time for surviving in the music industry- an achievement that started off when he was only a teenager. Making disclaimers about being nervous, scared, and reluctant to comfortably discuss his craft, the charismatic singer joked that he wished Oprah was there to help him verbalize his thoughts, openly confessing “this is not my forte” at the onset. But as he began knocking out a set list that was heavy with double-platinum, debut album Maxwell?s Urban Hang Suite tracks, ?Max? from Brooklyn, New York? loosened up quickly, comparing the experience to being on Twitter (but with real avatars), and began to discuss the moments in his career that birthed the baby-making music he?s heralded for.
Lady Gaga didn’t have to try to be the most interesting thing on last night’s American Idol, but she still gave her all while coaching the contestants through the Lieber and Stoller songbook. Her calculated weirdness collided forcefully with some contestants’ blandness and hesitance.
Sporting a monochromatic wig and wardrobe (including a fake birthmark), she forcibly Elvis-swiveled James Durbin‘s hips as he practiced “Love Potion No. 9,” used an extended tongue-kissing metaphor to describe how Scotty McCreery should relate to the microphone, and all but told Lauren Alaina to grow up. Haley Reinhart seemed the least uncomfortable with Gaga, discussing theatricality and breath control. But all the advice was good, if awkwardly transferred. Gaga herself did not sing.
Sadly, we’re disqualified from entering the Road to Slane Castle contest, but for all you fans who don’t work here, go enter! You could win a trip to Ireland to meet the band and see them play at Slane Castle, or a signed instrument from one of the band members plus free admission to Kings of Leon shows this year.
“Our background was the church,” Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon explains in this clip from their episode of VH1 Storytellers. So, if any of the lyrics of “Radioactive” sound familiar, it’s because the band borrowed them from gospel hymns they’ve known forever. Hear the whole story, and their performance, in the clip above, or tune in Friday, May 13 at 11 p.m. ET/PT for the VH1 Storytellers: Kings of Leon premiere.
If you’re a particularly devoted Kings of Leon fan, enter to win a trip to Slane Castle in Ireland (airfare included) to meet the band, or instruments signed by the band, or tickets to any Kings of Leon show in the United States. But be warned?you’ll have to prove your love in the face of your fellow fans. Good luck!
In honor of Bob Dylan‘s 70th birthday on May 24th, Rolling Stone has compiled a heap of birthday coverage today, including a feature in which ten artists reflect on their favorite Dylan songs. The one surprise in the set?and the only post-1975 Dylan song selected?is “Not Dark Yet,” from 1997′s Time Out of Mind, selected by none other than Marcus Mumford. Read more…
The youthful Saadiq (if not for Tony! Toni! Ton?! you’d never believe he turns 45 on Saturday) immediately got the assembled crowd clapping?and even singing a callback?for “Heart Attack,” the album’s opener and one of its more straight-ahead soul tracks. But despite adapting retro song styles (like the blues form of “Daydreaming”), his songs still sounded like music of today, a distinction implicitly proven by their juxtaposition with the band’s cover of Marvin Gaye‘s 1963 classic “Pride and Joy.” That cut was retro in the best way: some audience members even provided callbacks without prompting.