We Were There

by (@unclegrambo)

CONCERT REVIEW: Jessie Ware Earns NYC’s “Devotion” During Her North American Debut

Jessie Ware Performs At The Box In Her North American Debut

Jessie Ware isn’t cut from the same cloth as most of today’s powerhouse female singers. Rather than aping the melismatic overtures and excessively dramatic runs made famous by the Mariahs and Christinas of the world (and that, sadly, have become omnipresent in shows like The Voice and The X Factor), Ware fully understands when the time is right to lay back in the pocket, vocally, and when to unleash her seductively strong voice. This ability has earned her many well-deserved comparisons to Sade, and propelled her debut LP, Devotion, to the top of many critics’ Best of 2012 write-ups.

The 28-year-old British soul singer launched a whirlwind, two-stop, cross-country showcase at The Box in New York City last night —she’ll perform in Los Angeles on December 13 before returning to the United States for a proper tour this January— and was the recipient of rapturous applause throughout the course of her 10 song, 50 minute set (including some from You Oughta Know artist Sia, who we spotted sitting in a booth directly adjacent to the stage). Her sound fuses Blue Lines era Massive Attack style atmospherics with sultry R&B grooves which, on wax, serves as the perfect backdrop for those evenings when it’s imperative to chill. Live, however, Ware’s voice reaches dimensions that aren’t entirely present on her album. On “Swan Song,” for instance, her pleas of “Help me to escape” were given entirely new emotional resonance when Ware shifted her pitch in a dramatically different way than she does on the record, specifically as a means of intensifying the feelings coursing through her veins.
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Rihanna 777 Tour, Day 1: Bottle Poppin’, Frenzied Fans and Diamonds In The Sky

“Are you ready to get DRUNK?” says Rihanna on the plane’s intercom. Yes, yes we are. But only if you join us, RiRi!

Day One of Rihanna‘s 777 world tour has been nothing short of badass: flowing drinks, screaming fans and of course, the Bajan princess herself. But it’s only JUST BEGUN. With the help of a good adrenaline rush (and some ibuprofen) we survived our first day in the life of a true rock star and can’t wait to tell you all about it! Matter of fact, we’ll let the pictures do the honors…

But before we do, be sure and follow us on Twitter at @VH1Music for up-to-the-second updates for the next few days. Okay, on with the show!

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by (@unclegrambo)

EXCLUSIVE: Adam Lambert On His Pretty Little Liars Appearance — “My Vampire Teeth Were My Shield, My Armor”

Adam Lambert has long been one of our favorite artists and, quite frankly, one of the main reasons that we were so psyched about attending the Live In The Vineyard festival in Napa, California this weekend. Adam sat down with our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer for an interview that you’ll see on next week’s episode of the show (premiering on Saturday, November 10), but we wanted to get this clip up of Adam talking about his recent appearance on Pretty Little Liars up for the Glambert Nation as quickly as possible (hence, the low quality video; we sacrificed a bit of quality for speed!).

As you’ll see in the video clip above, Adam admits that he’s not entirely sure how he ended up on the set of Pretty Little Liars, but he did have a clear idea of what he wanted to do when he got there. “[The producers] told me it was a Halloween episode and they suggested kind of a costume thing,” Adam explained to us just a few short hours ago. “They said, ‘Oh, you know, we want to do like a steampunk band,’ and I said, ‘Vampire.’ They were trying to backpedal, and I said ‘No, I’m going to be a vampire.’ And they said, ‘Well, maybe you should…’ and I [said] ‘I’m going to come in the teeth, you’re not gonna get ‘em off me.’ Sometimes you just gotta put your foot down. Or your teeth down. Or something!”

You see, Adam wanted to make sure he was completely comfortable for what amounted to one of his biggest acting gigs to date. “When I got on set, I was really nervous ’cause I’ve never done a sitcom/TV drama thing before,” he bravely admitted. “Thank God I had my vampire teeth in because that was my shield, my armor.”

We’ll have more about Adam Lambert’s appearance at Live In The Vineyard here on VH1 Tuner tomorrow, and don’t forget to watch the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown on Saturday for more of Jim Shearer’s interview with Glambie!

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by (@unclegrambo)

Taylor Swift Talks About Dubstep Decision On Red: “There Are Some Incredible Risks Taken Musically On This Album”

Taylor Swift is not one who abides by the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” She’s sold over 20 million albums worldwide with her uniquely personal musical style that blends confessional lyrics with pop-tinged-yet-still-Nashville-friendly instrumentals, but seems committed to shaking things up on her fourth studio album, Red. The first single from the album, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (watch the video!), was a pretty stark departure from her past material in that it’s an unapologetic swing for the pop music fences. That collaboration with Swedish hit-making machines Max Martin (Katy Perry, Britney Spears) and Shellback (Maroon 5, Adam Lambert) resulted in her first career #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100, but Taylor’s willingness to experiment didn’t stop with Top 40 friendly beats.

Recently, VH1 News’ own Lauren Smith caught up with Taylor Swift here at VH1 headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and asked her about the risky decision to embrace dubstep on her song “I Knew You Were Trouble” on Red. (See video above.)

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by (@E_Meds)

Prince and Mary J. Blige Team Up For Unexpected Duet At iHeartRadio Music Festival

Prince and Mary J Blige - iHeartRadio Music Festival

Please forgive us if this post is only moderately coherent. Last night, the  iHeartRadio Music Festival came to a close by showcasing some of the best artists ever to enter the game. And one of the most jaw-dropping performances came from a guy — a legend, really — who wasn’t even in the lineup.

When Mary J. Blige announced she was going to perform a cover, the audience went into a frenzy when it realized the song in question was “Sweet Thing,” Blige’s cover of the Chaka Khan classic. But heads nearly exploded when Blige turned to stage right and introduced her friend Prince. Immediately, every person in the MGM Grand Garden Arena gasped and then screamed. The sound was deafening, the excitement palpable.

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by (@E_Meds)

P!NK and Gwen Stefani Perform “I’m Just A Girl,” One Of Many Surprises At iHeartRadio Music Festival

How does one even begin to recap a concert that lasted five and a half hours and featured 10 of the biggest names in music today? The second annual iHeartRadio Music Festival kicked off it’s two-day extravaganza yesterday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and fans weren’t disappointed. Usher, Rihanna, Green Day, No Doubt, and P!NK were just a few of the artist who brought hits, both old and new, to the stage.

The first major surprise of the night belonged to No Doubt.

When we heard from a few insiders that No Doubt would open the show with a little help from our friend and Storytellers subject P!NK, we had no idea how our wildest dream would actually come true. Would P!NK fly through the arena on her magic scarves and join Gwen and the crew for a revamped version of “Don’t Speak” or would she simple walk out on stage during the chorus of “Spiderwebs?” Neither one of those things happened. P!NK actually didn’t join No Doubt until midway through their set.

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by (@E_Meds)

Billie Joe Armstrong Smashes Guitar, Declares He’s Not “F–king Justin Bieber” At The iHeartRadio Music Festival

Green Day - iHeartRadio Music Festival

We don’t know what happened before Green Day took the stage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival last night, but whatever it was sure put Billie Joe Armstrong in a mood. From the moment he spoke his first words into the mic, Billie Joe was in full rock star mode.

Billie Joe greeted the audience with, “Get your f–king lazy a–es in the air!” And they listened like obedient little rockers overcome with the intoxicating air of a band that is just as influential today as they were when they first started a couple of decades ago (more on that later). The crowd was dancing, singing, and playing along with Billie’s I-don’t-give-a-f–k attitude. Nearly every other word he spoke was a certain expletive that begins with an “f” and rhymes with “duck”. There wasn’t a person in the arena who didn’t feel sorry for the poor guy manning the dump button. The MGM Grand Garden Arena was electrified.

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by (@E_Meds)

Rihanna, No Doubt, Lil Wayne, and Aerosmith to Rock the iHeartRadio Music Festival: VH1′s Got You Covered

iHeartRadio Music Festival

Last night Tuner had a dream. A dream where Rihanna, P!NK, Usher, and Green Day shared a stage. There were flashing lights, thousands of people and … Ryan Seacrest? Wait, this can’t be a dream, it must be time for the second annual iHeartRadio Music Festival!

The aforementioned artists, as well as Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Calvin Harris, Bon Jovi, Lil Wayne and VH1 Behind The Music subject Ne-Yo are among the 20 superstars set to hit the stage over two nights at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. And luckily for you, dear readers, VH1 will have insider access to the entire event. If Taylor Swift makes a surprise appearance during Green Day’s set (hey, crazier things have happened), we’ll be there with a first-hand report. Trust us, it’ll almost be as good as being there!
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by (@unclegrambo)

CONCERT REVIEW: Roger Waters Brings His Surreal Spectacle The Wall Live To Yankee Stadium

I was 5-years-old when The Wall came out in 1979. Of course, I was far too young to grasp any of the deeply adult themes of loneliness, alienation and distrust of institutional power that dominate Pink Floyd‘s masterwork, but that didn’t stop my fellow first graders and I from chanting “We don’t need no education!” and “Hey, teacher, leave us kids alone!” while we walked to elementary school in the mornings. Some musical statements are just universal in that regard, I suppose. Yet, for whatever reason, I was never much of a Floyd fan growing up. Sure, I was familiar with a great deal of their catalog —if you grew up in the 70s or 80s had access to a car and FM radio, how could you not be?— but for whatever reason, my musical attention during my formative years was drawn primarily towards hip-hop and more accessible, distinctly American classic rock staples (Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Eddie Money).

I bring up this confession (of sorts) because I went into Saturday night’s Roger Waters presents The Wall: Live concert at Yankee Stadium without a deep level of knowledge about either the album or the production. I purchased The Wall on iTunes just last week, and only had time to give it one end-to-end listen (which just so happened to be my first time doing so) before hopping on the 4 Train from my home in Brooklyn and making the trek up to 161st Street in the heart of the Bronx. Aside from cursory glances at a few reviews of recent dates on the stadium leg of this particular tour, I went into the evening with an open mind, fully prepared to be blown away. Well, suffice to say, that mission was accomplished. Quite literally, in fact.

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by (@unclegrambo)

CONCERT REVIEW: Leah LaBelle Turns Up The Heat For Pharrell, Jermaine Dupri And LA Reid At Sweltering Showcase

LA Reid, Jermaine Dupri, Leah LaBelle and Pharrell Williams

Whatever you do, don’t call Leah LaBelle an overnight success. While it’s true that she walked into an audition for LA Reid last year and was given a deal with Epic Records on the spot, she’s been putting in work to become an artist for the better part of the last 10 years. A former Berklee College of Music student, LaBelle was a contestant on the third season of American Idol back in 2004, but even with the support of Paula Abdul, wasn’t able to advance past the semifinal round. She kept grinding, though, posting covers of artists like Beyoncé (“Sweet Dreams”) and Frank Ocean (“Thinking About You”) on her MissLabelle1 YouTube Channel, eventually catching the eye of superproducers Pharrell Williams and Jermaine Dupri.

The trio of music industry heavyweights — LA, JD and Pharrell — have been working on material for Leah LaBelle’s debut album (release date still TBD) for close to a year now, and the stunning LaBelle decided to give the new songs a live trial-run during a 6-song showcase in front of 200 or so sweaty onlookers at New York City’s Tribeca Grand Hotel last night. Before she took the stage, each one of these gents took some time to explain what they see in LaBelle, where LA explained that “She has soul. She has real soul, like real, real bonafide singer soul, like you don’t hear. And you especially don’t hear this from girls that are so cute.”

You would expect that kind of praise from a born promoter like LA, but once LaBelle hit the stage, she more than delivered on that promise, both in the voice and looks department. There’s no use tiptoeing around the fact that LaBelle is gorgeous —the moment she hit the stage, we witnessed a hundred or so jaws simultaneously dropping to the floor— but to LA’s point, her vocal chops are legit, and she’s got that charismatic “it” factor as a performer. Truth be told, she kind of reminds us a bit of a female Robin Thicke, in that her sound is perfectly suited for the urban market in a way that feels both wholly authentic and completely organic.

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