If you didn’t already know, this is K’naan! We caught up with our You Oughta Know artist of the month at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC’s Greenwich Village earlier this month, where he performed a sultry set featuring his songs “Take a Minute” (which you can watch below), “Bulletproof Pride” and “Is Anybody Out There?” (which you can watch here). Hearing his passionate vocals over live acoustics was musical heaven, and seeing him perform in such an intimate setting really accentuated both the power and poetical flow of his lyrics.
Before, during and after his performance, K’naan proved to be a super friendly and very chill guy. Our ace photographer Colin Gray got to spend some extra time with him for the latest installment of our on-going Music Seen series. Enjoy!
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.
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 interviewMatt 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.
Amy, Amy, Amy. We thought you were getting better, not worse! Just two weeks ago, after a short stint in rehab and a clear-headed, successful performance at London’s 100 Club, it was reported that the British songbird’s sobriety was finally on the mend. But in Serbia on Saturday night, Winehouse kicked-off what was supposed to be her European tour, showing up visibly inebriated on stage. Not only could a stumbling Amy barely sing for her Belgrade audience of 20,000 ticket-holders, but her cringe-worthy “performance” was heavily booed in what local press is referring to as “the worst in the history of Belgrade.” An apologetic statement has been issued from her camp, speaking to the incident and canceling her next two shows in Turkey and Greece: Read more…
Fresh off of his appearance on yesterday’s Big Morning Buzz Live, we had the opportunity to sit down with Matt Nathanson, former You Oughta Knowartist and the voice behind 2009′s platinum hit, “Come On Get Higher.” The self-proclaimed “music nerd” constantly suggests that his Twitter followers tap into the experience of listening to artists’ full albums, so every morning, he recommends one LP per day via the hashtag #morningrecords. The tune talk doesn’t stop there for Matt Nathanson, though; with a new album coming June 21st, he has his ears to the street, and since he’s a You Oughta Know alumnus, we were curious to know what artists he thinks are “on the rise.”
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.
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…
The Railroad Revival Tour kicked off in Oakland, CA last night, with Mumford & Sons, fresh from Coachella, teaming with Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. But friends, family, and a handful of lucky fans were treated to a private “pre-game” performance the night before in San Francisco. The bands took the low-stakes opportunity to get back into the groove of jamming together before the tour started in earnest. Above, watch the three bands perform “Wagon Wheel” from 2004′s self-titled Old Crow Medicine Show.
The Railroad Revival Tour wraps on April 27 in New Orleans, one day before You Oughta Know band Mumford & Sons is to appear on the O Music Awards, streaming live online on April 28 at 11PM ET.