Two Door Cinema Club were met by an extremely enthusiastic crowd last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! By now, though, the You Oughta Know alums should be used to it; their crowds have gotten bigger and more enthusiastic all year. And while it might not be super-thrilling at home to see another performance of “What You Know” (a single from February! Kimmel gets lots of great guests really late in their promotional cycles) the audience hardly seemed to mind. For that matter, “What You Know” also thrilled the crowd at last month’s MTV Hive Live in NYC show, which is now available to stream if you want to see what was a great show from these favorites of ours.
Over on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Bootsy Collins (sadly, sans space bass), Mark Mothersbaugh (surprisingly, with keytar), Biz Markie, Erykah Badu,Leslie Hall, and of course Black Thought of The Roots each had a turn on the mic for the funky Yo Gabba Gabba! jam “We’re Gonna Party Today.” We’re not exactly sure how much appeal the jams have for kids, but if we were parents we’d love the old-school hip-hop vibe. They even dedicated their performance to the memory of Sugarhill Records co-founder Sylvia Robinson! Check it out:
It’s sort of astonishing to realize that J. Cole made his network television debut last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Television appearances aren’t essential to record sales, exactly, but they’re certainly part of a promotional cycle, and Cole’s appearance came a week after his record debuted?and four months after “Work Out,” the single he performed, hit radio.
Of course, when you sell over 200,000 copies of your debut, hitting #1 in a week that saw five other top ten debuts (including new releases from Blink-182 and Wilco) and reissues of two evergreen best-sellers (Pink Floyd’sThe Dark Side Of The Moon and Nirvana’sNevermind), maybe a television performance is an afterthought. The sideline story is quickly being retconned into anything but, as scores of observers swallow comparisons to Memphis Bleek. Meanwhile, the crowd at Kimmel ate up his performance. It has to be good to be J. Cole right now.
Sting appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman yesterday, ostensibly to promote his three-CD, one-DVD best-of box set Sting: 25 Years, but just as much to continue celebrating his birthday (he turned 60 on Sunday). How else to explain his song selection? Radiohead’s set may have had a co-introduction by Michael Stipe?who popped up beside Jimmy Fallon almost as though the Late Night host hadn’t known he’d be there?but only Sting would play a song that he recorded in 1993 as the theme to a film named for a Grace Jones song that Sting himself had written in 1981. That’s right: Sting played “Demolition Man”?which isn’t even on any of the CDs in the box set (though it is performed during the Irving Plaza concert on the DVD). You have to respect that the guy could have played any of his singles, or a new song, or basically whatever he wanted, and he picked the theme song to a sci-fi satire starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes.
Yesterday was a winner for late-night music, no matter which show you were watching: the performances were great across the board, and Jimmy Fallon augmented Pink Floyd Week with an appearance by famed rock photographer Mick Rock. Our favorite music moment last night was probably David Letterman’s teasing introduction of Death Cab for Cutie before their Late Show performance of “Stay Young, Go Dancing”: “They’ve got a guy [Chris Walla] back there at the piano?beautiful piano?and he’s also got a guitar. I’ve never seen that before. And I’m thinking, ‘Oh, get another guy!’”
Our pick for the best performance, though, goes to Portugal. The Man’s television debut on Conan, by a hair. Confession time: we haven’t really paid much attention to the band since they released 2009′s much-hyped?in certain circles?The Satanic Satanist, which didn’t do much for us. As it happens, the song they performed, “So American,” comes from July’s In The Mountain In The Cloud, which is the second LP they’ve released since The Satanic Satanist?and they’ve apparently improved significantly as songwriters during this moderately prolific period, because they sounded way better yesterday than we remember them being. We definitely have to check up on what we’ve missed.
Dave Grohl has been all over music news lately for his contributions to Nevermind, the Nirvana album that was released twenty years ago this week. So we took a certain bizarre delight in seeing his Foo Fighters on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon yesterday, backing Roger Waters of Pink Floyd for a rendition of “In The Flesh.” We’re not sure whether the collaboration is simply a useful reminder of Grohl’s self-proclaimed rock stalwart status?indicating that despite the generational shift that Nirvana seemed to indicate, the band fits quite snugly in the rock canon?or a nose-thumbing at that very idea, but intentionally or otherwise, the performance was a total riff on nostalgia. And it sounded great! Plus it’s always nice to see that we and Questlove agree that Pat Smear is the best.
If that wasn’t enough riffing, the episode also featured a “karaoke” segment, in which Jimmy Fallon and guest Joseph Gordon-Levitt showcased their impressions of David Bowie and Axl Rose, respectively. Check out their takes on Foster The People, Kelly Clarkson, and Lady Gaga after the jump. Read more…
We weren’t entirely thrilled by Radiohead‘s weekend appearance on Saturday Night Live, but that didn’t stop us from tuning in to see them during last night’s hour-long episode of The Colbert Report?and we’re glad we did. Even before they performed, the band gave one of their best interviews in years, in no small part because Stephen Colbert was more interested in making the members laugh than hearing what they had to say. “Who’s better at saving the world, you guys or Bono?” he asked. “Bono, definitely,” frontman Thom Yorke gamely responded.
Then the band launched into The King of Limbs b-side “The Daily Mail,” followed by “Bloom” and “Little By Little.” Each of these songs sounded more invigorated here than either of the songs they performed this weekend, but we specifically want to highlight the Kid A track with which they closed the show: “The National Anthem,” embedded above. The cynical political song sounds as good as ever, and was a perfect fit for The Colbert Report (which may be why the band went into their back catalog at all). The full episode, including a web-exclusive performance of “Codex,” is available to stream.
Wilco proved that a little Vox organ preset goes a long way when they played yesterday on The Late Show. After an introduction that only David Letterman could give (“Their new album is called Go Sit In The Truck!“?was he making a “dad-rock” joke?), the band launched into “Born Alone” from next week’s The Whole Love, a great Nuggets-influenced single. Though in retrospect it’s not that odd that Wilco looked to garage rock for a poppier sound on their new record, we would never have predicted it, but we’re into it. The band also played an hourlong set that’s now streaming at Live on Letterman, playing a bunch of new tracks intermingled with songs from as early as 1999, capping off a day of rock on the late night shows that also included The Kooks on The Tonight Show and Elbow on Late Night.
Yesterday’s late night music lineup may as well have been a VH1 showcase. The only musical performer we haven’t explicitly championed at some point appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon?after an interview with this month’s Posted artist Demi Lovato. Such a jam-packed lineup does make it difficult to choose the best performance of the night, but we have to give the edge to Kelly Clarkson, who made her first appearance in support of Stronger yesterday on The Tonight Show, where she performed single “Mr. Know It All.”
Clarkson has always had a great voice and an even better sense of how to use it?a fact that makes her live performances thrilling (and certainly contributed to her Idol win). So we were excited to hear her breathing more life into “Mr. Know It All,” a song that we already like but that she opened up for us further with her performance last night. (If we don’t sound quite as enthusiastic as we could, that might be because we not-so-secretly think that, were the situation not so dire out there for rock bands, we think that Clarkson would be a killer frontwoman with serious riffs behind her. But we try not to let that affect our judgment too much.) We are definitely looking forward to Stronger (and to the “Mr. Know It All” video, which should arrive somewhat sooner).
After the jump, see Demi Lovato’s interview on Late Night (introduced by The Roots with a reworded Styx cover: “Domo Arigato, Demi Lovato”) and links to the other performances. Read more…
Selena Gomez and the Scene‘s second When The Sun Goes Down single “Love You Like a Love Song” may have been released over three months ago (appearing briefly on our Song Of The Summer charts in July), but Gomez and band proved it’s still got promotional legs yesterday on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. After the performed self-absorption that was Simon Cowell‘s guest interview (featuring a reiteration of his on-camera grievances with Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger for the benefit of the Tonight Show audience) the electro-pop throwback (a friend of mine likened it to a lost Olivia Newton-John single) was quite refreshing. Though the limitations of television make the song’s appeal feel more rooted in the talents of teenpop songwriters-of-the-moment Rock Mafia, Gomez nevertheless acquits herself well.
Needtobreathe made their television debut on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno yesterday?no small feat for a young band. Once they launched into “Drive All Night,” though, the fortuitous billing made perfect sense. Needtobreathe, it turns out, exist sonically somewhere between Kings of Leon and Mumford and Sons, but enough of their own pop personality to distinguish them as more than mere copycats of either. They impressed Taylor Swift enough to score an opening slot on her Speak Now tour, and they seem to have impressed the Tonight Show audience as well.
Meanwhile, chillwave standard-bearers Neon Indian wowed not only host Jimmy Fallon but also the Late Night studio audience, with help from the Creators Project, who were responsible for Arcade Fire‘s much-lauded Coachella light show. Check out their latest dreamy smooth-80s pastiche “Polish Girl” after the jump. Read more…