by (@unclegrambo)

The Horrible Crowes Bring A New Layer Of Emotional Resonance To Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”

The Horrible Crowes are the new side project of Brian Fallon, the man best known as being the singer and songwriter of the Springsteen-revering New Jersey punk band The Gaslight Anthem. His new outfit played a sold-out show at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom last night, focusing mainly on the group’s new record, Elsie. However, The Horrible Crowes found the time to work an unexpected cover into their set: Katy Perry‘s “Teenage Dream.”

Indie acts have been cheekily covering Top 40 songs for as long as there have been Top 40 songs to mock—Traviscover of “Baby One More Time” remains a high-water mark in this genre—but instead of following that pattern, The Horrible Crowes decided to flip the script. Rather than mocking the song’s inherently anthemic qualities with, say, insincere fist-pumping during the chorus, Fallon instead infused the song with a sense of lovelorn regret, totally transforming its entire nature. In Perry’s version, the song is a come-on; in Fallon’s haunting take, it seems as if the narrator is reminiscing about his better days and a love that’s long since faded away. Suffice to say, if the Horrible Crowes ever decided to put this song on wax, it could do for “Teenage Dream” what the Cowboy Junkies once did for the Velvet Underground‘s “Sweet Jane.”

The Horrible Crowes – Teenage Dream (Katy Perry Cover) [JPCowz YouTube Page]

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by (@Lacezilla)

Concert Review: Beyonce Delivers a Dynamic, If Somewhat Robotic, Second “Intimate” Night at Roseland

Beyonce Live 4 Intimate Nights

If you haven’t already caught the scoop, Beyonc? has an affinity for numbers; specifically, the number four. Front and center at last night?s second of “4 Intimate Nights with Beyonc?” at Roseland Ballroom (the first of which took place on Sunday, the FOURteenth), the lady of the hour took the stage to break down the numerological fondness and dazzle superfans and music industry elite alike. Because she usually performs for audiences ten times the size of the 2,500 capacity venue, tickets for this coveted concert series were a hot commodity, and with VIPs like Diddy, Russell Simmons, Ne-Yo, and The-Dream looking on the balcony, a ravenous crowd chanted the singer’s name repeatedly before the show?s 10 p.m. start time. Homegirl has unwavering disciples, and as we were soon reminded, she deserves each and every one of them.

The well-rehearsed, ninety-minute show —whose setlist was identical to Sunday night’s show—began with Beyonc? narrating the initial chapters of her career?s autobiography. From militaristic practice sessions at nine-years-old with the initial members of Destiny?s Child to securing their deal with Columbia Records in 1995, Bey? ran through the timeline of her passionate path, stitching performance snippets into the fabric of her tales. Cut-down, crowd-pleasing hits like ?Bills, Bills Bills,? ?Say My Name,? and ?Independent Women Part I? perpetuated a roar of approval that crescendoed when the introduction to ?Survivor? was liberated by the diva?s all-female band. ?With a lot of success comes a lot of negativity,? admitted the star as she launched into the female-empowerment anthem, graciously crediting her former cohorts Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams while also justifying the song?s endurance-focused sentiments.

There is often calm after a tumultuous storm, however, and once Beyonc? was finished discussing the uneven footing of her early days as an artist, she shared with the audience how powerful it was when she finally ?found love.? Right on cue, the opening notes to the then-new couple’s very public relationship confirmation, Jay-Z?s ??03 Bonnie and Clyde,? hit our nostalgic radars, and as you might imagine, the crowd lost their minds. Before transitioning into a quick Dreamgirls story, Bey? also performed her other Hov-centric hit, ?Crazy in Love,? graduating from a slower, re-worked, funk version of the song into the full, familiar rendition, showcasing the video?s stomping strut that we all know and love. By also revisiting other iconic choreography that fans relentlessly study and mimic throughout the show, Bey? managed to create a sea of ?Single Ladies? hand-twirling and, once she got to the material from 4, lots of attempts at her ?Run The World (Girls)? stankyleg-riverdancing.

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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.


The Horrors Celebrate The Release Of Skying With MTV Hive

The Horrors may have burst onto the UK scene in 2006 with their noisy distortion-punk single “Sheena Is A Parasite” (with a Chris Cunningham video to boot) but they’ve evolved and settled quite a bit in the intervening years. The excited fans packed into the Studio at Webster Hall for the band’s United States album release show, filmed for MTV Hive’s Live in NYC series, were expecting shambolic grooves, not frenetic yelps, and that’s what they got for eleven songs spanning just over an hour last night. The band alternated between songs from their brand-new Skying and 2009’s Primary Colours, sounding somewhere between the Psychedelic Furs and the Chameleons, but with the guitar wash (and at one point, “Be My Baby”-aping drumbeat) of Jesus and Mary Chain.

The inexactitude of live performance erased the boundaries of time that can be heard on the records; there, the band is influenced by the sometimes dour proto-shoegazers, but live, the Horrors could actually be their lost peers. When they closed their set with new song “Moving Further Away,” the appreciative audience applauded in vain for an encore until the house music came on. The whole set is streaming above and at MTVHive. Set list below:
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by (@unclegrambo)

Beyoncé Takes New Tact To Build Buzz For 4

Any way you slice it, Beyoncé‘s camp has been plagued with turmoil in the months leading up to and following the release of her fourth LP, 4. Before the record even dropped, rumors about the label’s unhappiness with the finished product swirled, Queen B was accused of plagiarising her widely-lauded Billboard Music Awards performance, and she endured a messy split with her manager (and father), Matthew Knowles. Then 4 came out and sold only moderately well when compared to the past performance of her other blockbuster albums, something that it has never really recovered from. Neither of the album’s first two singles, “Run The World (Girls)” or “Best Thing I Never Had,” have been able to grab the cultural zeitgeist, and while the album has been certified platinum by the RIAA for shipping over one million units to retail stores, the album’s actual Stateside sales have yet to approach that magical million mark. So, the question remains: What other levels do Beyoncé and her team have left to pull to make this album a quote-unquote “success”?

Well, it seems that their answer is to build the buzz around the strength of the entire album, not just the singles. Beyoncé just announced that she’ll be doing a four-night residency at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom next week, a run in which she’ll be performing her latest album in its entirety. 4 Intimate Nights With Beyoncé will be just that; while Bey usually performs in arenas that hold 20,000 or more people, Roseland’s maximum capacity is just 3,200 peeps, which will make the show the hottest ticket in this town since Kanye West performed My Dark Twisted Fantasy to an audience of just 1,100 at the Bowery Ballroom back in November.

So, will it work? Tough to say! To her credit, Beyoncé is widely regarded for her electrifying live performances; just two months ago, we named her Glastonbury set as that festival’s best. And by gathering the East Coast media world’s biggest tastemakers all in one room over a series of four nights, you can be assured that her album will get a fresh look from critics and a lot of ink devoted to it. As for whether or not that will translate into sales, though, only time will tell!

Beyonc? to Perform Four Intimate Shows in NYC [BET]

by (@Lacezilla)

Young Jeezy Brings Out Kanye, Jay-Z And Other Big-Name Guests in NYC

Even though Young Jeezy is gearing up to release his fourth solo album?later this year, his show last night at Highline Ballroom in New York was dedicated to his first. Commemorating Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101’s sixth anniversary, the rapper who reps Atlanta looked both svelte and hungry while performing alongside a full band in the hot, filled to the brim venue. For those in attendance, however, it was a welcomed experience, especially once the star-studded guests began spilling out on stage.

First to show his face was Jay-Z, making a supportive cameo to spit his verse from the debut album’s third single, “Go Crazy,” making the crowd do just that. Kanye was next up to bat, joining Jeezy for their 2008 collabo, “Put On,” followed soon after by UGK legend Bun B who helped perform TM101 track “Trap or Die.” Next to hit the stage was Brooklyn rapper Fabolous, who, after performing “Flexin'” from Jeezy’s recent Real Is Back mixtape, also delivered radio favorite “You Be Killin’ Em” to the already-spoiled audience. And to cap off the laundry list of appearances, Jeezy then brought out the entire L.O.X. to perform a medley of their strongest tracks, again forcing the crowd to lose their minds.

While Jeezy’s recruits may be the impressive lynchpin in the show’s dossier, it’s absolutely worth mentioning that his fans were thoroughly content with solo performances from just the man himself. As each song dropped, the audience recognized it instantly, and the room would soon be filled with audible word-for-word rapping accompaniment. Not just some people either, it was pretty much everyone; something you don’t see at every rap show. And considering Jeezy announced that his new album, Thug Motivation 103, will be hitting stores on September 30th, I’m sure he’d appreciate it if every person rapping along to his lyrics in that room actually BUYS it.


Jay-Z And Kanye West Are “The Throne”; Watch Them On Tour This Fall

Fueled by the exuberant response to last week’s premiere of “Otis,” (a marked departure from the mixed reviews “H.A.M.” got in January,) Jay-Z and Kanye West have announced that their Watch the Throne collaboration has a name?fittingly, The Throne?and that the duo will be touring together this fall to support the album. Tickets for the tour dates will go on sale the same day that the album becomes available for digital purchase: Monday, August 8, and online ticket purchases will come with a copy of the album. The Throne must not be too concerned with first-week album sales, because any albums that come with a ticket purchase won’t count towards their sales total. Then again, The Throne will probably hit #1 on the Billboard charts even without these “sales.”

Full list of confirmed tour dates below (with more likely to be added).
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by (@unclegrambo)

Playful Rihanna Is Not Above Groping (Or Getting Groped By) Her Fans [PHOTOS]

As we witnessed earlier today when they took to Twitter to complain about the VMA nominations, Rihanna has a very strong and incredibly vocal group of fans. How does one cultivate such a fan base, exactly? Of course, there’s no exact formula, but one such way is by hitting the road and playing live for the people that love you most. And on her Get Loud tour this summer, Rihanna has stepped her game up a notch.

Not only is she bringing the goods when it comes to her live performances, but she’s got her social media game on point. Witness Rihanna’s Facebook page, where she has posted close to 1,300 pictures (!) she’s taken with fans during Loud meet and greets. Unlike a lot of other superstars who begrudgingly perform these duties with a frown on their face, RiRi clearly seems to be having fun interacting with her friends, grabbing body parts and, shockingly, letting her own body parts be grabbed. Check out our gallery of a dozen Rihanna fans who will never forget the night that they got groped by (or copped a feel of) Rihanna!

View Photo Gallery


Q-Tip Brings Kanye, Busta To The Stage At Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival 2011

Brooklyn rap fans were abuzz before Q-Tip‘s headlining set at the 2011 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival on Saturday. After all, “Q-Tip + Friends” couldn’t just refer to the supporting sets by Random Axe, M.O.P. and others, right? Rumor had it that A Tribe Called Quest would reunite?which makes a sort of sense, since Ali Shaheed Muhammad was also on the bill and Beats, Rhymes, and Life is in theaters. What the crowd wasn’t expecting was that Q-Tip’s “friends” would include Kanye West. After performing “Dark Fantasy” and “All of the Lights,” Kanye backed Q-Tip on ATCQ classic “Award Tour” (something Kanye knows a little bit about). Watch the performance above!

Kanye wasn’t the only high-profile guest during Q-Tip’s set. Black Thought of The Roots performed with Q-Tip on a number of songs. And while Phife Dawg did not appear to complete a Tribe reunion, Busta Rhymes did, to perform his verse on “Scenario.” Watch below:

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by (@unclegrambo)

VH1 To Broadcast Coldplay – Live From Glastonbury On Saturday Night

After the massive worldwide success of Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends and its ensuing 21-month world tour, Coldplay had clearly earned the right to take a little time off. However, the band did exactly the opposite of that: While they were in the midst of the Viva La Vida tour, they began writing and recording a brand new album, one that Chris Martin described to BBC’s Radio 1 as dealing with universal themes like “love, addiction, OCD, escape and working for someone you don’t like.”

While this album, Coldplay’s fifth, does not yet have a name nor a release date, the band is already out on the road and debuting new tracks. The first single from the album, “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall,” is in contention for the Song Of The Summer crown, and this weekend, the band will be headlining the Glastonbury Music Festival in England.

If you’re bummed that you can’t make it to England, we’ve got some great news to share: On Saturday night, June 25, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, VH1 and our sister station Palladia will be broadcasting Coldplay – Live From Glastonbury in its entirety, marking the first time in the festival?s 41-year history that a full concert will be broadcast to television audiences in the United States.

For the complete press release, read on…

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