When it comes to embracing new artists, The Big Apple is notorious for being standoffish. Countless acts come through this town feeling intense pressure to perform, and like a picky suitor at a speed-dating event, New York and its sometimes-jaded tastemaker underbelly can often?discard a group within minutes. This premature blow to the ego, however, did not happen at the Lower East Side’s Bowery Ballroom last night. Performing their second sold out show in the concrete jungle in as many nights?—the first of which was held Monday night in Brooklyn— indie pop rockers Foster The People managed to create an atmosphere that was full of wild, supportive energy, and not a heckler was in sight.
After their VH1 Big Morning Buzz Live interview yesterday morning with Top 20′s Jim Shearer, the band then graced our offices with a stripped-down You Oughta Know Live performance of four songs. Powered by Subway, Foster The People’s You Oughta Know run will officially kick off next week, so we were beyond stoked to see the trio’s exclusive taping before running downtown to experience the band’s full, five-man show in all it’s glory.
As previously noted, on Saturday, July 28, two of the writers of the VH1.com blog attended the Poison concert at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J. It was, in a phrase, nothing but a good time. Here’s Jonathan Durbin on the live Poison’d experience.
- ?Look what New Jersey dragged in!? shouted Bret Michaels during the opening salvo of Poison?s headlining show in Holmdel, New Jersey. He shouted it to the tune of ?Look What the Cat Dragged In.? Which they were playing. Loudly. The band was backed by explosions of green flame and showers of fireworks. Michaels wore True Religion jeans and generally looked like he?d been shopping on Melrose Avenue in L.A. West Coast rock stars are so into showing everybody the stitching on their clothes. What?s up with that?
- The video projections behind the band included graphics from the band?s new album sleeve, Poison?d (featuring a female mouth with green lipstick, suggestively tonguing the band?s logo). At other times, the video featured abstract computer-generated art that was somehow reminiscent of a trip through a very long ear canal. Also: Flames. Flames were very popular.
- Three members of Poison wore Poison T-shirts. The other, bassist Bobby Dall, wore a Venture Bros. T-shirt, a promotional item for a show on the Cartoon Network?s Adult Swim.
- Bobby?s affinity for cartoons didn?t stop the blonde behind me from digging her elbows into my back in a whole-hearted attempt to climb over me, past security and onto the stage where she could worship him properly.
- Bret changed headgear frequently. He started with the bandanna look, graduated to the woven straw cowboy hat and moved from there to a black leather number. Interesting to note: The hat was the element of his style most frequently appropriated by female fans. The guys seemed more into singing along with the songs. Particular favorites were ?I Want Action? and ?Nothin? But a Good Time.? He dedicated the latter to New Jersey. Literally. He said, ?New Jersey, this is your song!? New Jersey seemed to agree.
- New Jersey also agreed with ?Every Rose Has Its Thorn.? During the power-ballad-to-end-all power ballads, audience members held aloft lighters and cell phones, casting the entire arena in an oddly soothing blue-orange light.
- Backstage, meanwhile, cascades of sparks spewed from the rafters for a waterfall effect. That was one of the pyrotechnic effects that Bret?s manager had warned us about. She had asked us not to wander around backstage because we might burn our faces off. We didn?t burn our faces off, but there were times where it came close.
- There were other duck-and-cover moments backstage. Mainly they involved keeping fingers in our ears. The explosions were loud. At other times, I saw stage hands running away from guitarist C.C. DeVille, who had a full-length mirror back there to primp his hair. Run and hide, stage hands! C.C.?s loose!
- Poison played from 9:30 until 11 p.m. They kept the energy unflaggingly high all evening, which was more than Ratt (who opened). Ratt were loud, but not high-energy. Also, Ratt sound like they?re Irish. Who knew?
- Post-show at Bret?s bus, a line of people maybe 25 deep had gathered to meet the man. There were a smattering of busty ladies, a few kids and some of Bret?s friends (like Tony, Bret?s tattoo artist — a wonderful guy). Only a few people were allowed on at a time. When we got onto the bus, we noted that the soundtrack Bret was using to entertain the crowd included songs by the Black Crowes and the Foo Fighters. It begged the question: What do rock stars listen to, exactly? Roadhouse rock, apparently.
- Bret himself turned out to be a very generous and kind individual. He?s also Internet savvy. He?d been watching to see how many of his VSPOT clips from Rock of Love were in the top 10. How’s that for dedicated?
Click the shots taken during the show for larger versions:
And, after the jump there’s one more tidbit…