Green Day took a break from working on their new album last week to road-test what they’d written?sort of. On Tuesday the band announced a last-minute, Thursday night benefit show for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the 250-capacity Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa, CA, and their set that night included, by some accounts, nineteen unreleased songs. Despite the “STRICT NO CAMERA, NO CELL PHONE POLICY,” a recording of “Amy” made it onto YouTube, and judging from the lyrics, later posted on the band’s website, the song is a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse (“27, gone without a trace/ And you walked away from your drink”).
“Amy” kicked off the encore, which also included a cover of Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Goodbye to Romance” and eight Green Day fan favorites. The band has provided no information on the timeline of their upcoming studio album, nor any word on which of the new songs will even make the cut.
Lady Gaga Video To Premiere Thursday On MTV
As part of the “Yoü and I” premiere (set for 7:49PM ET), Lady Gaga will sit down with Sway for an interview, before a fan Q&A at MTV.com, with questions sourced from those submitted via Twitter using the hashtag #MTVGaga. Speaking of Twitter, Gaga’s Twitter contains “Yoü and I” stills and teasers. [MTV]
We won’t have the final numbers until Wednesday morning when physical album sales are also included in Soundscan’s calculations, but iTunes has released the first-week sales totals for Watch The Throne, and the figures are quite impressive. For over three years, Coldplay’sViva La Vida or Death and All His Friends held the record for first-week copies sold in the online music store with 155,000, but swooping in with nearly double that amount is Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collaborative supergroup, The Throne, cashing in with a whopping 290,000 digital purchases. (For comparison’s sake, Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way sold 440,000 downloads in the Amazon.com MP3 store back in June, but that was also priced to move at only $0.99 for the entire album.)
Aside from the fact that Jay and ‘Ye are arguably two of the hottest rappers in the game right now, there are a few things to consider when digesting this news. First of all, Watch The Throne has been heavily promoted and buzzed about over the past few weeks and months, and the iTunes release was an exclusive one, which certainly spiked first week sales. Secondly, and perhaps even more shockingly, is the fact that the album didn’t leak beforehand. For a genre that falls victim to digital assaults via hackers on a regular basis, a feat such as this is almost unheard-of. In their forthcoming August 20th issue, Billboard takes a closer look at the Mission Impossible-like process of keeping one of the year’s most anticipated albums under digital-fingerprint-protected lock and key. Let’s just say that many precautionary strategies were agreed upon and executed, all in the name of safeguarding digital files as they were created; in-person meetings replaced email correspondence, wi-fi signals were disabled during recording sessions, and hard drives were protected 24-hours a day like homeland security secrets.
Despite this impressive sales figure, it remains to be seen whether or not this album will have the same sort of cultural impact that solo records from these two individuals tend to have. Reviews of Watch The Throne have so far been mixed, and lead single “Otis” hasn’t quite taken off in the way that many foresaw. Will this record mimic the arc of Lady Gaga’s latest release –huge first week sales, followed by sharp decline– or chart its own course? Tough to say at this point, but we’ll certainly be watching.
This weekend, music’s ultimate outsiders, the Insane Clown Posse, found themselves in the unlikeliest of situations?on the brink of mainstream acceptance?as tens of thousands of fans, plus a surprising uptick of press, flocked to Cave-In-Rock, Illinois for the 12th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos. Detroit’s second-most successful rappers have garnered more mainstream exposure of late than than have since they left Island Records ten years ago, largely thanks to the Gathering, a festival of music, comedy, wrestling, and enough drugs and nudity to make it the spiritual successor of Woodstock, and enough rage to make it the spiritual successor of Woodstock 1999 (at which Insane Clown Posse, incidentally, performed).
The group’s return to prominence began in 2009 when the YouTube advertisement for the festival’s 10th Anniversary went viral online and sparked a Saturday Night Live parody. Last year’s festival garnered a Village Voice cover story, in which Camille Dodero claimed that “For nearly two decades, MTV has ignored Violent J and his partner-in-clown, Shaggy 2 Dope,” which at the time was debatable but today is refutable, as MTVHive sent Chris Weingarten to cover the entire festival this past weekend (see his coverage of Day 1, Day 2, and Days 3 and 4).
Last night was the first of “4 Intimate Nights With Beyonc?” at the 2500-capacity Roseland Ballroom in New York City, and for the lucky fans (not including us) who got tickets, Beyonc? didn’t just play her new album 4 front-to-back, as promised?she played a chronology of her hits (as part of Destiny’s Child and solo) first, for a ninety-minute set. Videos are getting pulled from YouTube as quickly as they go up, so we won’t even bother linking any, but apparent highlights included a crowd-sung “Irreplaceable.”
Kicking off with a greatest-hits was a canny, if retrospectively obvious, move for Beyonc?, whose new album is front-loaded with ballads. The hits set hyped up the crowd as an opener would while providing a contrasting lead-in for the energy comedown of the beginning of the album-playthrough. We have seen no mentions of professional camera equipment at the shows, but we suspect that Beyonc? might be taping these performances for a DVD release, simply because it would be such an astonishing missed opportunity if she didn’t.
The Peppers look to be pulling a reverse-Beatles in the clip, which, by the way, was directed by Marc Klasfeld. Like the Beatles’ iconic performance in London, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are performing from a rooftop, and the footage is shot in faux-documentary style, as though the set is impromptu. “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” is hardly a public farewell from an adopted home, though; the Venice Beach setting is very much a part of the SoCal band’s identity, not simply the capitol city where the Beatles’ studio was located. Also, the video is the band’s reintroduction (sans John Frusciante) after a brief hiatus. The guitarist (Josh Klinghoffer) may be new, but the rest of the band is a familiar bunch: a shirtless Flea bobbing and mugging and a shirtless Anthony Kiedis sporting questionable facial hair, and Chad Smith keeping the beat while wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt.
While you puzzle over the questions raised by this clip (mainly: Is it going to rain in the video?) take a look at two exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from the video shoot:
Our thoughts and condolences are with the families of the five deceased: Glenn Goodrich, who was working security, and allegedly saved two others from the collapse; lighting operator Nathan Byrd; and three fans: Alina Bigjohny, Tammy Vandam, and Christina Santiago. Sugarland’s opening act Sara Bareilles also released a statement, calling the “horribly tragic” collapse an “accident,” and pledging that she and her staff would “do whatever we possibly can to help heal the hurt from this very sad day.”
As we noted when the story first broke, this is the third collapse that has occurred on a temporary stage due to high wind preceding a thunderstorm. The Indiana State Fair received notice of the National Weather Service’s storm warning five minutes before the collapse, which despite what is reported to have been an efficient response, was obviously simply not enough time.
We are not meteorologists, but three collapses within a month due to flash thunderstorms during the peak of the Atlantic’s tropical storm season seems like either a remarkable coincidence or a series of occurrences for which better preparations ought to have been made. We are not, mind you, suggesting negligence, but rather that safety standards for temporary stages may need an upgrade (and if so, we hope that happens soon, and we wish it had happened before anyone was killed).