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.
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.
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: Read more…
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. Read more…
Currently creeping its way up the iTunes and pop radio charts, Gym Class Heroes’ debut single off of The Papercut Chronicles II now has a video! After a three-year hiatus, Travie, Disashi, Eric and Matt are back at it with “Stereo Hearts,” attempting to tug at our heartstrings via the alternative hip-hop sound that first met our ears on “Cupid’s Chokehold” in 2006, a video which included a then-unknown Katy Perry. In this Top 20 Video Countdownpremiere video, the band’s shadows come alive and help bring to life their sonic palate, ever-present while the clip incorporates imagery that spans breakdancing and The Beatles‘ Abbey Road references.
Front man Travie McCoy’s verses on “Stereo Hearts” sort of remind us of a 2011 take on 50 Cent’s “21 Questions,” gauging a lover’s loyalty, but doing so while feeding the stereo/love analogy that’s sweetly woven into the song. And even though we’re talking about boomboxes here, Maroon 5’sAdam Levine is transmitted through television screens in the window of a pawn shop in the vid, singing the chorus that will most assuredly get stuck in your head. With the sun shining brightly and leaves on the ground, this visual is seasonally appropriate and perfect for the transition from summer to autumn, the latter of which is precisely when their fifth studio LP drops.
Jennifer Lopez Will Return To American Idol
So said Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, in so many words, this morning on Ryan Seacrest‘s morning show: “I believe we?re still waiting for the official announcements but I am delighted to say that all three judges, along with the brilliant host of American Idol, [are] back for the next season.” [EW Inside TV]
Taylor Swift Premieres Fifth Speak Now Video “Sparks Fly” is a pretty straightforward tour-advertisement video, but it’s a good advertisement, and anyway, what do you want? She’s already released four high-concept clips in the last year! Sidenote: we’re curious what Sara Marcus would say about Swift’s penchant for writing on her body. Is that in dialogue with riot grrrl? [Vimeo] Read more…
We may not have been able to attend Lollapalooza 2011 ourselves, but the photographers we sent in our stead got some great shots. Yesterday, we shared their fashion roundup of attendees, but of course we wanted lenses be pointed at the stage at least some of the time, and this gallery definitely delivers. Click through for shots of performances all weekend, including shots from must-see sets like Eminem‘s, as well as some great snaps of You Oughta Know alums like Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Lissie, and more!
If you attended the 2011 Lollapalooza Festival this weekend, you had to battle the elements AND a throng of 270,000 people in order to see your favorite acts. However, on Friday night at the W Hotel in Chicago, some of our most famous You Oughta Know alumni gathered for a very special VH1 You Oughta Know Night at the Belve Music Lounge. Retro soul powerhouses Fitz And The Tantrums and electro power poppers Two Door Cinema Club each performed for the fans lucky enough to score an invite (which included celebs like Twilight’s Kellan Lutz, Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse), and the one and only Grace Potter hopped on the ones and twos for an inspired DJ set. Our photogs were on hand to catch all the action, and we’d love to share the results with you!
While police are still investigating the mysterious incident, a few more details about the evening have emerged. Initial reports pegged DeGraw as being quite inebriated when the incident occurred around 4 a.m. on Sunday night, but Gavin’s brother Joseph told Fox News that Gavin “had nothing but cranberry juice to drink” on the night in question (a night, mind you, that was spent at National Underground, a bar that the brothers co-own). Additionally, People is reporting that Gavin’s assault took place after “some kind of argument” broke out between himself and a group of people he didn’t know. DeGraw also told police that he “can’t clearly recall” how the disagreement got started or any events of the night in question. To help piece the events of the evening together, police are attempting to collect security camera footage from the neighborhood in question.
We continue to wish Gavin a speedy recovery from his injuries, and we’ll bring you more information about this scary incident as it emerges.
Shakira’s so hot, she even looks great in sweatpants, s?? As part of her Tour Blog video series, the clip above aids in chronicling the Columbian cantante’s day-to-day activities during her “The Sun Comes Out” world tour. We already know that she’s got powerful pipes and hips that don’t lie, but while taking a break on a golf course in Mexico, Shakira puts those joints between the femur and acetabulum of the pelvis to good use!
“It’s all in the hips,” she says of her solid golf swing, breaking the mechanics to an on-camera pal. In between goofing off with the parrot club head cover, the fiery singer provides fundamentally sound instructions on driving the ball, and you if you watch the entire clip, you’ll see Shakira cruising around in a golf cart, practicing her short game, and most importantly, being stunning and adorable while demonstrating her proficiency in the sport. Quite a departure from belly dancing and performing in front of crowds in the tens of thousands, we’re quite fond of this stripped-down, girl next door presentation of Shakira, and you will too! Next order of business? Trying to get her in your scoring zone.