Jason Mraz teared up while talking about “I Won’t Give Up” during his VH1 Storytellers taping. The song speaks to the stagnant points in life and love. “I was really bummed out, and I hate sharing that, because I’ve had everything, I’ve had all my dreams come true,” he said. “And yet,” he continued, “One still experiences melancholy.” And so he set — or, he says it “was coming out whether I like it or not” — the feelings to song, and it has since become his mantra.
Though there were no tears last night on Conan, he performed still with all the same emotional charge. His long locks tucked underneath his trademark fedora, he played the Love Is A Four Letter Word single quietly at first, then building drum rolls and conviction to the song’s climax — “I had to learn what I got, and what I’m not and who I am” — before jamming it out until the end. We might make this our mantra, too.
Check out Mraz’s Conan performance above, and hear him talk about the song on VH1 Storytellers below.
Last night’s most inspirational late night moment came surely from Conan guests The Fray, who broke from their tour with Kelly Clarkson to perform “Run For Your Life,” the most recent single from their Scars and Stories. Conan’s cozy sound stage is not nearly so expansive as, say, the California desert, and so it was the jangling keys and Issac Slade’s rough-hewn insistence that “You don’t have to go it alone” needed to be motivation enough. And last night they were, Slade’s laced-up red Converse sneakers and anxious seat insuring that he would be close behind should you so chose to run.
Click through to see their web-only performance of “Be Still”…
Our You Oughta Know artist Emeli Sandé performed the “calming and reflective pause” at Friday’s Olympic Opening Ceremony in London, before the parade of nations and the storm of sporting that has followed. One of only a handful of performers, and the only female vocalist, Sandé stood as a vision in a blue floor-length dress in the center of it all. She sang a moving rendition of “Abide With Me,” a heavy hymn written her fellow Scotsman Henry Francis Lyte in 1847, while a troupe of dancers performed a dance choreographed and led by Akram Khan below her. The moment is thought to have been a tribute to the victims of the 7/7 terror attacks in London, and it appropriately pulsed with emotion. If you were watching the ceremony on NBC, though, you missed it, as it was cut from the broadcast in order to make time for Ryan Seacrest’s Michael Phelps interview (or, maybe to keep things American). Watch the quietly stunning performance above, and listen to Sandé’s “Abide With Me” below. Read more…
Steady on the comeback, No Doubt returned to late night last night with a stop on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and not that he ever seems otherwise, but Jimmy seemed extra excited to have them. The band’s return has so far been amazing in that they haven’t seemed to age a bit — their energy is still high and they miraculously all look exactly as they did the last time they had new music to promote ten years ago. Last night’s performance of “Settle Down” was more of the same — Gwen’s 90’s mall-swag was especially turned-up, her studded harem pants tucked into her patent leather Docs — except for the fact that they all wore blazers, because they are adults now. They aren’t buttoned-up, though, and everyone looked and sounded great as they spun around the stage. Comebacks are never easy and not often successful, but it seems evident that No Doubt’s return was a great idea. We can’t wait to hear what else they’ve got when Push And Shove drops out on September 25th.
Last night, The Lumineers stopped by the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to perform their ever joyous “Ho Hey!” The VH1 You Oughta Know artists, as Jay introduces them, have kept busy this summer “Ho Hey”-ing through our studios, in the streets and up the charts. And last night on the sort of bucolic stage, set with a sunflower banner and trees that look borrowed from a Waiting for Godot production, they did it again. Their usual three members swelled to five, with an added mandolin and bass guitar, and sure enough those four extra feet were put to work in what might have been the most fun rendering of the song we’ve seen so far. “Ho Hey” was built around good energy and toe tapping. That energy seems to be mounting with The Lumineers’ quick ascent. And that toe tapping? We don’t doubt that they left televisions rattling last night.
Katy Perry’s favorite electro-pop minimalists The xx gave “Angles,” the pretty first single off of their upcoming sophomore album Coexist, its television debut late last night on Conan. Lights low as they should be, neither Romy Madley Croft nor Oliver Sim moved much more than the skeletal bass line and whisper-y vocals necessitate until the song’s climactic break, where what was swooning growss haunted. “Like dreaming of angels,” Croft sings, and then Jamie Smith lets free a snare roll before she finishes, “…and leaving without them.” The whole thing was confetti free and delicate, so much so that it was startling when they are met with applause and an excited Conan at the end. To savor it, hit pause on the video at 3:10.
Is it warm in here? R. Kelly showed off his new and improved vocal chords last night with a make-up appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Sounding straight Sinatra, he wooed the crowd with a soulful performance of his ode to bachelorhood “Feeling Single.” Kells kept things simple in dark shades and all black everything else, save for his sweet voice, which is thankfully back in fine form after last month’s scare. “Feeling Single” is exactly the sort of classic jam we crave in the late night, soft enough to lull you to sleep or steamy enough to inspire your late-late night. Feeling single can feel pretty good.
Any actual teens tuned in last night were just kids the last time No Doubt hit the Teen Choice Awards, but it was no matter as Los Angeles’ Gibson Amphitheater was buzzing with excitement for the iconic band’s return to the stage. And they didn’t disappoint, as they were in fine form performing their new single “Settle Down” for the first time live. The entire crew was dressed in black and white, and the rest of the act was kept simple, as well. Their return was spectacle enough. Gwen held court with a big (probably L’Oreal Paris lined) smile and all her usual swag, seeming perfectly at home back on stage, bouncing around and singing at the same time. Two kids and many years later, she’s still hella fine for real. Nothing’s gonna knock that girl down.
London’s Hot Chip dropped in on Jimmy Fallon last night to dispense a hit of synth and a dance break to late night watchers. Recently drawn forth once more for the release of In Our Heads, the deep thinking dance fiends performed “Don’t Deny Your Heart” with house band the Roots and a mess of instruments and equipment. Alexis Taylor led the unapologetic 80’s jam, pleading that you “don’t deny your heart, don’t destroy your heart (say yes).” Hot Chip have made a name for themselves by using the dance floor’s dark corners to explore those in their mind. You know, like this. But here they beg otherwise, suggesting that “You’ll see, we take fun seriously.” And — with jingling synth, disco keys, and a Questlove led drum break — that they do.