Performing in front of glowing climbing nets, the Gym Class Heroes looked and sounded great at their VH1 Unplugged taping here in New York City a few weeks back. Stripped down to acoustic guitars and a brush sticks, they got us going with a set that included new favorites like “The Fighter,” old favorites like “Clothes Off,” and special guests like the beautiful Neon Hitch and Fall Out Boy‘s Patrick Stump (with whom we spoke to exclusively before the show). The Heroes, Stump and Hitch go way back, and so in addition to the unplugging, there was also lots of catching up and goofing off. Our photographer Brendan Tobin was there to catch all. The warm up, the big show, the cool down — check his pictures out below!
VH1 Unplugged: Gym Class Heroes will make its online premiere tomorrow, Thursday, July 12, at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. You’ll be able to catch it on VH1 that night at 12 a.m. ET/PT.
The Lumineershad us at first “Ho Hey,” but their visit to VH1 headquarters a few weeks back really got our hearts and feet thumping. Looking the part in soft chambray shirts and suspenders, and with big smiles on their faces, they played a few songs before sitting down to talk about their move west from Brooklyn to Colorado and about hearing their music on television for the first time. All the while our photographer, Lauren Weissler, was tagging along to catch them setting up, hanging out, plugging in, and playing. We’ve named The Lumineers our You Oughta Know artists for July and August because we just can’t get enough of their warm, roots-revival rock; the rest of you, though, who have helped to propel their album to the #3 spot on Billboard’s Folk chart and #4 on the Indie chart, might have your own reasons for loving them. But check out the photos below and tell us: aren’t you so charmed, too?
On Sunday, Rihanna closed the festival with a spectacular set of her own. On an Egyptian-themed stage and in cut-off fishnets and a leather jacket, RiRi surprised the crowd by bringing back Jay – in a black leather Brooklyn Nets cap — out for three songs at the end of her set. They did a reprise of “Run This Town,” and then gave “Talk That Talk” its live debut, before launching into their now-classic hit “Umbrella.” This run of songs, spanning Jay-Z’s 2009 Blueprint 3 to Rihanna’s current Talk that Talk to 2007’s Good Girl Gone Bad really goes to show just how deep that Barbadian star’s catalog goes at this point. “The Roc is in the building, and we love you so damn much,” she said, thanking the umbrella-baring audience. After delivering his verse, Jay slipped off and Rihanna sent fans home with “We Found Love” and a fireworks show. It’s safe to say, not Roc fan left disappointed.
We’re not gonna lie, everyone here at VH1 is pretty smitten with Elle King. So much so that from the moment our Creative Music Integration (CMI) team heard this 23 year-old’s raw, soulful-beyond-her-years voice on “Playing For Keeps,” they knew that it would make the perfect theme song for Mob Wives: Chicago. Elle came by our offices last week to celebrate the release of her brand new, eponymous EP, and our own Lauren Weissler spent the day trailing Elle and taking these gorgeous photographs —some of which come with commentary from Elle herself!— for the latest entry in our ongoing Music Seen series.
“Usually at 7 am my make up is the same from the night before. I was also really excited that for the first time I got to look and dress how I wanted and really be myself.”
When our June You Oughta Know artist Emeli Sandé isn’t making people cry from the beauty of her voice and lyrics, her cool, mellow demeanor makes you feel at ease. On the day she stopped by VH1 Headquarters she was spunky and full of energy. Her smile was radiant, her laughter infectious. There was no inner diva with this British soul singer whose debut album topped the UK charts at #1. Our photographer Michele Crowe captured a range of Emeli, from the songstress cackling with laughter before a pose for her live set to prepping for a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg earlier this month. Speaking of live sets, the strength of her vocals are exemplified in her performance of “Heaven.” The clarity and sound of her voice, yes, heavenly indeed.
While Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have been melting the faces off audiences all over the country for a decade, they didn’t hit the mainstream until last year’s sexy single “Paris Ooh La La.” From their start on the jam band circuit to being a VH1 You Oughta Know artist in 2010 to collaborating with The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach on their latest album The Lion The Beast The Beat, the tight-knit, fun-loving, ridiculously talented band has plenty of stories to tell.
As a GPN superfan, it was a test in my professionalism to contain my excitement as I trailed them all day, camera in tow, from the Lucerne Hotel on NYC’s Upper West Side to Metropolis Studios in Harlem for rehearsals and what turned out to be one hell of a rock show. Insidery highlights of the day included Grace singing Nicki Minaj‘s “Starships” en route to the taping, her gushing about a recent splurge on a hot plate for her gourmet tour bus cooking, drummer Matt Burr revealing his colorful sock fetish, and the enthusiasm when Grace revealed new album art to bandmates Benny Yurco, Scott Tournet, and new bassist Michael Libramento. Below you can take a sneak peek at Grace prepping for the show, the gorgeous Storytellers set, some goofy backstage antics, and of course, plenty of rockin’ out goodness.
Be sure to tune into VH1 Storytellers: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals on June 15th at 11 p.m. ET/PT, but for now, please enjoy the latest entry in our ongoing photographic series, Music Seen!
The 16th season of VH1 Storytellers got off to a rousing start a few weeks back when Jill Scott blew the roof off New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. After taking a break for the Memorial Day weekend, we’ve got three incredible performances lined up for you to enjoy over the course of the next three Friday nights: Jason Mraz (6/1), Norah Jones (6/8), and Grace Potter (6/15).
We can’t wait for you to see Jason Mraz’s emotional VH1 Storytellers set, which will premiere this Friday night at 11 p.m. ET/PT. He played a rich assortment of songs from his truly outstanding body of work, including a few stunners from his brand new album, Love Is A Four Letter Word. We’ll be bringing you a few sneak peeks at his set as the week progresses, but for now, we just couldn’t wait to share these photos of Jason getting prepped for his set a few weeks back. Our ace photographer Jen Marigliano took all of these photos, which is the latest entry in our ongoing Music Seen series. Enjoy!
The highly anticipated debut episode of VH1 Storytellers: Jill Scott premieres tonight at 11 p.m. ET/PT. You’re in for a treat with the musical act Scott has put together, including her awesomely talented band and the soulful sounds of both new and old music. VH1 captured a peek of Jill’s preparation prior the show, and when we tell you she goes all out, it’s not an exaggeration. The beautiful gold architecture inside the Hammerstein Ballroom is off set by the intimate lights and candles on stage.
Her most recent album, Light of the Sun, reached #1 on the Billboard 200 charts, but expect her to take you back to the songs that made this Philadelphia spoken word poet became such a timeless artist. Below you can check out her hair and makeup preparation, the band sharing a laugh and Jill getting into character. Once you see the show you’ll understand why Scott is one of the best artists of our time. Tune in tonight for VH1 Storytellers: Jill Scott at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
VH1’s latest You Oughta Know artist is 21-year-old Ed Sheeran, a U.K. based troubadour whose appreciation of musical theory and craft is light years beyond most artists his age. He’s a real throwback to singer-songwriters of yore, the kind of artist who crafts highly detailed and personal stories, as well as someone appreciates those musicians that paved the way for people like him to be successful many, many years before he was even born.
Take, for example, his cover of Nina Simone‘s “Feeling Good.” The song has undergone a bit of a rebirth of late, thanks to being sampled by Jay-Z and Kanye West on the RZA-produced Watch The Throne track “New Day.” Sheeran is able to successfully channel the raw emotion of Simone original, utilizing nothing but his soulful voice and trusty acoustic guitar. It showcases his vocal range in a way that we had not really witnessed before, and is easily one of our all-time favorite You Oughta Know Live performances.
We paired this incredible cover with a series of incredible photographs by VH1’s own Michele Crowe, who trailed Ed for an entire day here in New York a few weeks back to produce the latest addition in our long-running Music Seen series. Enjoy!