The four-song set that Foster the People recorded for You Oughta Know Live (powered by Subway) is here! We want to take a moment, though, to talk about something we noticed about the band.
They look just a little too put-together in their press shots. We point this out not to give the band a hard time, but because we thought you might have noticed, too, and that’s the sort of thing that would make us a little wary of the band, if we didn’t know better. We don’t blame their label for making them look good?after all, that’s part of what labels are for?but the band, especially frontman Mark Foster, looks a little uncomfortable in the photographs.
That’s why we try to record these You Oughta Know Live performances. We think the best way to experience a band is to see them live, and the next best is to see a live performance. Here’s where you get to see why we are such fans of the band (the VH1 Blog’s own Mark Graham picked “Helena Beat,” which the band performed as part of this set, as a Song of the Summer contender).
We embedded the last song of the set, “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls),” above because it was, not coincidentally, the strongest of the four performances. Foster in particular undergoes a visible transition as the set goes on, loosening up, losing his jacket, smiling more, until the near-maniacal laugh-vocals in this song’s bridge, which he nails. His all-out rendition belies the uncomfortable nature of the press photos?as does (sorry if this embarrasses you, Mark Foster) the fact that he’s wearing the same t-shirt he did when the band played the Sasquatch Festival in Seattle on Memorial Day. Now that’s the undeniable sign of a songwriter trying to get a break in L.A.: a favorite t-shirt.
The complete set also includes versions of “Pumped Up Kicks” and “Houdini.” Check it out.
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.
Foster the People came to our offices for an exclusive four-song performance earlier today. In-house performances always draw a crowd, but for a new artist, the trio (lead singer and guitarist Mark Foster, backed by bassist Cubbie Fink and drummer Mark Pontius) drew a particularly large and excited group of MTV and VH1 employees out of their cubicles and offices and into the foyer where the band was playing. That’s yet another sign of the momentum building behind the band, whose first single “Pumped Up Kicks” just unseated Foo Fighters‘s “Rope” at the top of the Billboard Alternative Songs chart after over a year of slowly-building word of mouth. In an MTVHive interview Matt Pinfield conducted, Foster even mentioned Hype Machine, the mp3 blog aggregator that tracked tens of thousands of streams of their single and other tracks. Their debut album just came out last month, and the word is, they’ll be announced as our next You Oughta Know artist next week.
The set sounded great, but we won’t tease you too much with descriptions until we can share footage with you. We will say that they played the three songs from last year’s self-released EP (re-released by Startime in January)?new single “Houdini,” Song Of The Summer contender “Helena Beat” (a sneak preview of which can be seen above) and of course “Pumped Up Kicks”?plus an early fan favorite from the new record, “Color on the Walls (Don’t Stop),” which has a bassline that resembles Nirvana but with an entirely un-grungy guitar melody over it.
When we told you that You Oughta Know artist Lissie had come to VH1 to play a You Oughta Know Live set, we hinted that she included one of her reworked covers, like maybe Metallica‘s “Nothing Else Matters” or Kid Cudi‘s “Pursuit of Happiness,” into her set. However, it wasn’t either of those songs that she actually performed. Rather, it was her subdued yet emotional take on Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance” that made the cut. Backed by lead guitarist Eric Sullivan and bassist Lewis Keller (with a three-piece drumset he played with foot pedals), Lissie powered through a four-song set, led by her single “When I’m Alone.” Watch “Bad Romance” above, and check out the whole set exclusively on VH1.com.
You Oughta Know artists The Civil Wars wowed the VH1 offices with a heartfelt and observant You Oughta Know Live performance a few weeks back. The duo quickly won the initially skeptical crowd over, but when they closed their set with a haunting (and surprising) cover of The Smashing Pumpkins‘ “Disarm,” the audience was awestruck. Re-imagined as a tragic duet, the song’s angst is all the more touching. Who knew that The Civil Wars were as skilled at arrangement as they are at songwriting?
Check out the whole set, including their single “Barton Hollow,” exclusively at VH1.com. And, don’t forget, one of the best ways to stay abreast of the latest bands that are emerging from the shadows and beginning to claim the spotlight is by frequently checking out the MTV Music Meter, where the Civil Wars currently occupy the #10 spot on the chart.
You Oughta Know artists The Civil Wars wowed the VH1 offices with a heartfelt and observant You Oughta Know Live performance a few weeks ago. After winning over a skeptical crowd with a heartfelt rendition of their single “Barton Hollow”, Joy Williams ducked behind the keyboard for what John Paul White called “the loud version” of their tragic duet “Poison & Wine” (viewable above). White and Williams are not involved with each other?they’re married to other people?but nonetheless when they locked eyes for the refrain “I don’t love you but I always will,” their vocal performance conveyed an emotion that felt just as real.
Watch the exclusive three-song set and stay with us for more on The Civil Wars.
We’re always excited when a You Oughta Know artist comes to our offices and performs an exclusive You Oughta Know Live set, but The Civil Wars particularly enthralled the room (even if the “room” was our lobby). Before they took the impromptu stage, the audience was more hesitant than usual, largely hanging by the elevators or against the back wall.
But the instant they launched their their four-song set with their single “Barton Hollow,” the band’s presence drew in the crowd; Joy Williams and John Paul White are almost instinctual performers. Williams in particular accentuated her vocals by gesturing and dancing, and when, on “Poison & Wine” (“the loud version,” as White called it), she was behind the keyboard, the two locked eyes, not only to “perform” the doomed love of the song but also as a substitute for any rhythmic accompaniment besides White’s strumming (which also allowed them to end on a rather long shared note). These two belong on a stage. No wonder they scored opening gigs for Adele next month.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals have lots of fans here at VH1. It’s not just any group that gets selected as You Oughta Know artists, invited to play “Paris (Ooh La La)” at 2010′s VH1 Divas Support the Troops and a set in our You Oughta Know Live series with a four-song set featuring a cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” (as part of a month we spent with the band as part of VH1′s Posted series).
So of course we were excited to see the band taking on another challenge of a cover, Beyonc?‘s “Why Don’t You Love Me,” over at Billboard.com. Watch the band’s rendition above, and click through for the full story.
VH1′s NYC offices welcomed singer/guitarist Lissie and her band earlier this afternoon. Lissie is an upcoming You Oughta Know artist, so we were happy to host her amid what’s apparently been a busy schedule for the band. They left our offices already packed for their Australian tour that starts Wednesday, debating whether Lissie would have time to go home to Ojai during their extended layover in Los Angeles tomorrow (they decided no) but thankful that they at least had time for a trip to In ‘N’ Out.
While the band was here, they performed an exclusive four-song live set for You Oughta Know Live, which will be available on VH1.com shortly. Until then, here’s the inside scoop! Read more…
As we teased not quite two weeks ago, You Oughta Know artist Fitz and the Tantrums swung by the VH1 offices for an exclusive You Oughta Know Live performance. The four-song set was a blast, but the absolute highlight was the double-time clapping and funky breakdown of “L.O.V.” which we’ve shared above.
Stream the whole set, including the band’s most recent single “MoneyGrabber”, exclusively via VH1.com.