Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mos Def: Inside the Rapper's Studio

After witnessing the Mos Def interview at the 92nd Street Y this evening on Manhattan's Upper (Upper) East Side, the title of this entry should be Inside the Rapper/Film Actor/ Broadway Actor/ Motivational Speaker/ Social Satirist/ All Around Controversial/Ultimately Very Humble Dude's Studio. Mos Def was interviewed in a public forum by Rolling Stone editor Anthony DeCurtis for a rawkus crowd of fans, thespians, aspiring rappers, and um, older folks and was not shy about speaking his mind and opinions. All topics from racism, music careers, growing up in Brooklyn, and even his controversial comments on Bill Maher's show regarding Osama not being responsible for 9/11 were brought up. Controversy is not something Mos Def is afraid of.

He talked about being brought up as a youth in New York City and listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire with his mother. He also spoke about being blown away by hearing rap for the first time back in 1979/80 with The Message and Planet Rock and how he was amazed how a fringe art form like hip-hop in the early '80's could become a cultural center like it is today. He talked about digging on jazz music and getting into Miles Davis and John Coltrane which allowed him to aurally escape his life and the challenges of the Projects. He also talked jokingly about his first passion, acting, and that it was the only escape for him when all adults wanted to do was put a basketball in his hands. Mos said he was much more of a book nerd and would skip school to go read.

But what was most surprising was that he did not come across as militant or controversial for the sake of controversy. What I learned about Mos Def was that he does not seek fame but seeks to share his visions and opinions without prejudice. And that he is incredible shy when riding in a Bentley. He told a great story about how his one time in a Bentley was when it had been lent to him by a hotel. His driver was a white guy, and when the driver pulled up to a curb with some young kids who clearly knew who he was, he said he wanted jump out and explain that this was NOT how he rolls with the white man being HIS driver and all.

The real good stuff was that we had the honor to listen to a track that Mos had made in the lab the prior night for his new 'as yet unreleased' disc tentatively entitled 'The Ecstatic'. The track is called 'Pretty Dancer' which he first performed acapella for us while the CD was getting set up to play through the PA. He also told the story of how the song got its name. Mos was watching an interview with Muhammad Ali after he had just kicked the stuffing out of Sonny Liston. Ali was standing next to Sugar Ray Robinson and he referred to himself and Sugar Ray as 'Pretty Dancers'. Mos couldn't believe, and rightfully so, that this masculine badass boxer, would refer to himself as a pretty dancer! He said THAT was the butchest thing he had ever seen or heard and had to use the phrase for a track. Even the 60 year old woman in front of me was nodding her head to the madlibs produced beat as Mos mouthed the words to the track as it was played. Even amidst all of the "aspiring" rappers in the audience doing their best to get Mos's attention, he was humble, inspiring, and a complete open book.

The challenge, I believe, with these "in-person" appearances is that the facade is blown. Oftentimes, I leave these events with the star losing their luster and no longer being a fan. But did the star this evening keep on shining after all of the questions from the host and the audience? Mos Def. (Oh come on, you had to know that was coming!)

Update: The event made Page Six, one of my favorite sources of quality unbiased journalism.

R.I.P. Buddy Miles


"And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually."
--Jimi Hendrix

For full bio, click here

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Verve Coming to New York

The Verve's reunion tour will be coming to the east coast of the U.S. after their Coachella stop with a two night run at the horribly named WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden. After years of hoping Richard Ashcroft would just play here again solo to get my fix, the entire reunited Verve will be onstage! I was hoping the Verve would get to Bonnaroo but an intimate show in my hometown is even better. The whole Weighstaff will be at this one so bring your cameras and autographs are only $5.


The Verve have announced a handful of dates in the US, kicking off at Coachella on April 25.The band will then head for Las Vegas to perform at the Palms before crossing the country to the east coast for two shows at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.Tickets for the New York shows go on sale this Saturday March 1 at 11am.The band recently played a successful string of sold-out comeback shows in the UK.

The dates are:
Indio, CA Coachella (April 25)
Las Vegas, NV The Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms (26)
New York, NY WaMu Theater at MSG (28, 29)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Clapton and Winwood: Back To the Garden

Some months back, November I believe, it was announced that Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood would be playing a full concert together. This news was revealed on the heels of an extended sit-in between the two old friends and bandmates at the 2007 Crossroads Festival held last summer. As the February reunion dates got closer, there was no indication of the level of pre-show hype that surrounded the Cream reunion and I'm not sure why that is. In my mind, these shows certainly deserved equal hype. It's not like it hasn't been a long time since this duo has teamed up for a proper concert. It's not like Steve Winwood is any less of an important musician or has had any less of a career than Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce did after they left Cream. If anything, Steve Winwood has been nothing short of a superstar since Blind Faith last played together almost 40 years ago. Maybe if these shows had happened before the Cream reunion, things would have been different. Maybe if I had been alive during the 60s I would think differently. The hype was certainly enough to sell out the Garden over three nights and probably could have over even more, but honestly, where was the buzz in the music world for this historic show?

Of course, you couldn't convince any of the 18,000 packed into the arena above Penn Station on the west side of New York that they weren't witnessing rock n' roll history. They all knew full well that Clapton and Winwood hadn't played a concert together since a short Summer tour in 1969, the only tour that Blind Faith would ever attempt. And they also knew that the first American show of that lone tour took place at the very same venue. Well, maybe they didn't know that last fact, but I certainly did!

After walking by the $40 t-shirts and $55 posters, with disdain about the ridiculous prices, which interestingly were on sale outside of the MSG gates, we wandered around the concourse looking for Section 314. Having found our seats, and discovering our view perched above stage-right (Winwood-side), they turned out to provide quite the excellent positioning, considering that Clapton would spend much of the night directly facing Winwood/us, during the many songs when Steve was sitting at the B3 or the grand piano. Steve spent most of the night on keys, but started and ended the show on guitar, playing leads and solos that neared the prowess of Slowhand himself. In addition to his piano and axe work, Winwood showed that the powerhouse voice which led the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic back in the 60s had not faded one bit. Clapton was in fine vocal form too, but he couldn't reach the power and soul of Winwood's singing. Take that Jack Bruce.

Another observation of note was the small size of the band, only 5 pieces deep. With Eric and Steve being two of those 5 and two others being drums and bass, this concert was led musically by the two superstars, keeping the pressure to deliver on both of them for the entire night. There was no horn section, no background singers, and no second and third guitarists for Clapton to fall back on. This was significant. The fifth member of the band sat in as a second keyboardist, playing organ fills when Steve was on the grand and playing acoustic piano tones when Steve played guitar at the front of the stage alongside Clapton. I can't imagine that outside of the few Cream reunion shows, that Eric has often not had the luxury of an enormous band to fill in the gaps for him, which typically provide the comfort for him to take a backseat when needed. I also believe that the phenomenal talent that Winwood brings to the stage forced Eric to step it up from his normal live concert routine. Not only was Clapton playing an atypical set list, without the requisite Wonderful Tonight, Layla, and I Shot The Sheriff, he had a sparring partner in Winwood who has just as much talent as he does and they continuously pushed each other to keep the bar high. As I mentioned, the set list that these two played last night featured songs that they haven't played in concert in many many years. This contributed to the uniqueness of the occasion that we all felt sitting in the audience. I also want to mention how great it was to see Clapton playing rhythm to Winwood's blistering lead guitar solo on the outro of the set closing Dear Mr. Fantasy. Winwood has been playing this tune, one of my favorites, on a nightly basis for years and years and he clearly knows how to do it justice, bringing down the house just before the band left the stage.

I also have to mention the Garden crowd last night. I've read in some other reviews that the crowd was not into the show enough, as they were seated throughout most of it. Whereas I do agree that most of the arena remained seated, the applause and adulation that they put forth after each and every song was stellar. When I pay almost $200 for a ticket to see a band that was together during the summer of Woodstock, I'm not expecting to be amongst a crowd that is going to stand for the duration of the concert. What do you expect...hippie chicks twirling in the aisles and barefoot dudes noodle dancing in the bathrooms? Leave that for the Phish reunion.

So all this review so far, and I've hardly mentioned any songs yet. In a nutshell, the setlist was full of highlights. This was one of those concerts where one amazing song led into the next amazing song. Whether a tune was carried by Steve's vocals or his organ playing or Clapton's blues singing or picking or the stellar jams by a band that sounded like they'd been playing together for years, there was constantly something fantastic to tune your attention to. Ranging from Blind Faith tracks, Traffic songs, Winwood tunes, Clapton tunes, Hendrix covers, and some others, the setlist covered it all. Particularly enjoyable were the solo numbers, performed alone on stage, first by Clapton on acoustic guitar and then by Winwood on the B3 organ. During this section, Clapton performed 'Ramblin On My Mind,' a song that Clapton recorded with John Mayall before the formation of Cream and 'Georgia On My Mind,' a song that Winwood released with the Spencer Davis Group before the formation of Traffic.

From the stage, during his solo number, Eric told of how much he was enjoying playing with his old Blind Faith bandmate, and also how he would like to keep on playing shows with him. This was a clear indication that this reunion would not go the way of Cream, who will probably never play together again. Reading online today, I saw that Clapton and Winwood are set to play together in Toronto in May. So for all those of you who think that you have missed your chance to see these two superstars together, you will almost certainly have another chance. Just have faith.


01. Had To Cry Today
02. Low Down
03. Forever Man
04. Them Changes
05. Sleeping In The Ground
06. Presence Of The Lord
07. Glad / Well Alright
08. Double Trouble
09. Pearly Queen
10. Tell The Truth
11. No Face
12. After Midnight
13. Split Decision
14. Ramblin On My Mind (EC solo acoustic)
15. Georgia On My Mind (SW solo hammond)
16. Little Wing
17. Voodoo Chile
18. Can't Find My Way Home
19. Dear Mr Fantasy

20. Crossroads

Thursday, February 21, 2008

All Good = All Good

Thanks to Mid-Atlantic Jam King Tim Walther, we're looking at another stellar All Good Festival lineup in the moutains of West Virignia. I will most likely be back to the Mountaintop this summer.

Walther Productions is excited to announce the initial lineup for the 12th annual All Good Music Festival. The festival will take place July 11-13 and will include three full days of music and camping situated on the luscious, rolling green fields of Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown, West Virginia.

With temperatures averaging in the mid 80's during the day and mid 60's at night, this promises to be a delightful camping experience. The All Good Festival features a family camping area, kid's area, ADA accommodations, quality food and craft vendors, late night shows, interactive workshops, choice micro-brews, and a whole lot more.

Buy early and save over $55 on the gate price.

The General public on-sale date is Tuesday February, 26th at Noon EST.

$109 Early-Bird Tickets will be offered exclusivly via

All Good 2008 Confirmed Artists:

Phil Lesh & Friends, Widespread Panic
Gov't Mule
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Keller Williams and the WMD'S
Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Soul Stew Revival
Medeski, Martin & Wood
Railroad Earth
Tea Leaf Green
The Bridge
Hot Buttered Rum
Pnuma Trio
The Wood Brothers
Basshound many more TBA

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Photo(s) of the Day

The Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard from last weekend's Slam Dunk Contest. The dunk, aptly called the "Superman," required that Howard get so high above the rim, he had to throw the ball into the hoop (as opposed to dunking). It was unbelievable; maybe one of the greatest dunks of all time. See for yourself:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Trying to beat the scalpers in a race for tickets is like Yeshiva University trying to beat Duke in basketball. It's a near impossibility. I'm not going to profess to know everything about the intricacies of the scalping industry or the flawed technology of Ticketmaster's website, because I just don't. But I do know this: on Saturday, at exactly 10:00:01 a.m., I logged onto Ticketmaster expecting to buy tickets to several of the upcoming NYC Ratdog shows only to receive an automated message stating that no tickets were available for any of the 3 shows.* NOT ONE FUCKING TICKET! How could that be??? This is Ratdog, not Billy Joel!!!

Now I've seen Ratdog many times, especially at the Beacon Theater. From experience, I know that if I log onto Ticketmaster within the first 1-10 minutes from when they go on sale, there is a decent likelihood of getting mid-orchestra, possibly seats in the coveted Loge, and certainly the lower balcony (upper balcony is available for days, if not weeks). So why would Saturday be any different? The logical assumption is that the scalpers flooded [hacked into] the system and single-handedly destroyed any possibility for the fans to secure tickets. It is a joke. The whole thing is a joke, and the fans are the punchline. When I was a teenager, we actually used to campout for tickets! But, those days are long gone. Everything has changed. Ticket prices are out of control. Fans can't afford, let alone, get tickets to see their favorite bands anymore. Tickets are so expensive these days that even the most devout fans are forced to contemplate whether it's worth seeing Neil Young, or Van Morrison, or David Gilmour, or Eric Clapton. It used to be about wanting to see, not worth seeing.

It's not just Ratdog. It's everything. Tickets are trophies. They are bragging rights. Shows are selling out before the fans even learn about them. It's an unfair game, and we're losing.

Whose to blame? Ticketmaster and their purportedly "fail-safe" website? The entrepreneurial scalpers who have masterfully perfected the hunt? StubHub, who benefits tremendously from the faithfuls who pay top dollar (including a healthy commission) to see their favorite acts? The bands themselves for not rebelling against the industry and figuring out a way to save the music?

Sounds like a doomsday scenario. I better start working on my jumper...

*In one final act of desperation and an hour after tickets originally went on sale, I logged back onto the site (more out of curiosity) and miraculously, was able to secure tickets in the lower balcony for two of the shows. Five minutes later, there were no tickets left. Nonetheless, I can't explain how or why this happened.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Necessary Evil

I have a love-hate relationship with the New York City subways. Despite being filthy, outdated and in poor repair, it generally gets you where you need to be for an extraordinarily cheap price. And its patrons -- there is certainly no shortage of creeps, goons and degenerates that lurk on the trains at all hours of the day (so long as you don't make eye contact, you're relatively safe). Word of wisdom: immediately upon exiting the train, make sure to douse yourself with a healthy dose of Purell. Personally, I'm a cab guy. I don't mind shelling out the few extra bucks for the comfort and convenience of the overpriced yellowcab, despite stubborn drivers and air-conditioning that never seems to work.

But I'm the minority -- millions of commuters each day rely on NYC Transit's most prized gem for getting around the city. Not looking forward to my impending ride on the dreadful 7 train this afternoon (I have an appointment in Flushing, Queens), I got to thinking about the subway's historic role in American cinema (yes, I'm a huge loser). I've listed below a couple of my favorite scenes that feature New York City Transit's finest in some very classic movies:

Ghost (1990) - Tell me you don't remember the late Vincent Schiavelli's haunting (pun intended) role as a post-suicidal specter caught in limbo, hopping between subway cars and his famous exclamation, "GET OFF MY TRAIN!!!" -- that scene still creeps me out.

Coming to America (1988) - Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) riding either the A,C, or G line, renounces his throne to Zamunda in order to win over McDowell's heiress Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley) who rebuffs his offer. Akeem then gives a pair of jewel-encrusted earrings removed by Lisa to a little old lady who proudly states, "If you're really a prince, I'll marry you." How sweet.

Saturday Night Fever (1977) - After witnessing his good friend fall from the Verrazano Bridge, a troubled Tony Manero (John Travolta) rides the graffiti-laced R train (I think) throughout the early morning hours pondering his life and his love interest with Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney). The Bee Gee's classic "How Deep Is Your Love" is memorably playing in the background.

The Devil's Advocate (1997) - One of my favorite scenes of all time. John Milton (Al Pacino), accompanied by Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves), is riding the subway headed to MSG for "fight night." In the midst of thwarting a knife attack by a group of Hispanic hoodlums, Milton (who is the devil), in perfect Spanish addresses the hoodlums:

"Maricela, the moment you left the
apartment she [hoodlum's wife] was upstairs with
Carlos. They're on the pipe right
now, my friend. They're in the
kitchen splitting a jumbo and then
he's going to fuck her in the ass,
right on your bed, and she's going
to like it...Do yourself a favor and put that
knife where it belongs."

The hoodlums, visibly terrified and awestruck by Milton's ominous, but truthful prediction, hop off the train at the 14th Street station. Classic, just classic.

Honorable mention: Crocodile Dundee (1986)

On that note, I wonder how much a cab would cost to Queens this time of day...

UPDATE: I survived the train ride back from Queens, but had some guy's backpack brush against my face and I caught an elbow to the back at some point. At least I wasn't exposed to any violent coughing fits, which is a normal occurrence these days...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Idol Thoughts...

Can one be obsessive compulsive about American Idol? If so, pass the Prozac. I watched 4 hours of the veteran show just last night thanks to the wonders of DVR technology. I have a good feeling about this season -- I think there is a lot of good talent and most importantly, no Sanjayas to sabotage the competition.* Shockingly, I'm finding myself more interested in who wins the Idol competition than that whole Clinton-Barak-McCain thingy... What's happening to me?!?

On that note, here are some random observations from this last week:


Those that made the cut:

Amanda Overmyer: I like her. There is a place for her in the industry (whatever is left of it). 15-year old girls won't dig her act, but I think she appeals to the more mature, tasteful fans. No one doubts she does a nasty Janis Joplin impression, but I'd like to see what else she's capable of. She is the real thing.

Carly Smithson: Irishwoman w/ the crazy tattoos. Remember her now? She is fantastic. Her performance in Hollywood was one of the best. I can see her going VERY FAR in the competition. I like you Carly.

*Danny Noriega: Has serious Sanjaya potential, but surprisingly, he can sing. Personality is a bit over-the-top and annoying at times. I just don't see unified support for this guy. The next Clay Aiken?

David Archuleta: VERY talented. Great voice, especially for 17. He will go far. Like Melinda Doolittle last season, he needs to lose the "I'm shocked I'm good" routine. It's cute the first time, but stiffen that upper lip if you want to gain respect from the hardliners. Nonetheless, he is semifinals material.

Syesha Mercado: This was the girl who lost her voice but bounced back big time on day 2 in Hollywood. No one will dispute she has a strong voice, but something rubs me the wrong way -- something seems disingenuous about her personality. I'm still undecided about how I feel about her. Syesha, prove me wrong.

Michael Johns: He had the balls to sing Bohemian Rhapsody...and he pulled it off. This guy goes far.

David Hernandez: By far, the best voice/performer of the pack. I was a bit surprised at first when Simon said he didn't vote for him to move ahead to the top 24, but then logic kicked in -- of course Simon loves this guy. He praised him throughout. Pledgemaster Simon clearly attempted to break down the best and humble him a little (although I didn't find him cocky at all). I'd be surprised if this guy doesn't make it to the finals.

Some of the not so lucky:

Josiah Leming: Josiah, Josiah. I didn't get it. I never got it. The tears don't make you likable. It just gets creepy after awhile. And the faux-English accent -- contrived at best. You're from Tennessee my friend, don't forget your heritage. Advice: form a Coldplay cover band and play high school parties -- you'll be a hit.

Ghaleb Emachach: the whole "Enrique Iglesias" routine might have worked if you could actually sing! Dude, sorry to say, but you suck! It was just comical. Stick with the club scene in South Beach - that's your calling.

Kyle Ensley: Dude with the shirt and tie. At first, I thought, "great, another prankster is gonna slip through the cracks," but as I watched him more, he seemed like a real genuine guy. Not a great voice, but like Simon said, he's very likable and had the potential for a big following. He'll succeed in whatever he does.

Jeffrey Lampkin: Cee-Lo meets Biz Markie. Voice was average, but I liked this guy. Sure he wasn't going to make it far in the competition, but I could have dealt with watching this guy for another week. Try out again next season, you're entertaining.

Last but not least, Brooke Helvie: You can sing for me ANYTIME. I mean that -- ANYTIME. I'm sorry I won't be seeing more of you in the coming weeks, but I look forward to seeing some racy pics of you show up on the internet -- I have faith they are (or will be) out there. Enjoy UF, fun school and great athletic program.

Some final thoughts:

Hugging: It's sappy and annoying, especially for the guys. Unless Paula offers, DO NOT ask permission to hug the judges. I didn't hug my bosses when they gave me a raise and you shouldn't hug the judges for voting you forward. Leave the hugs and tears for your friends and family. No one wants to see it.

"What am I going to do now?" "I don't want to work." "I don't want to go to school.": Did you hear this too? GET A FUCKING JOB LIKE THE REST OF SOCIETY. The sense of entitlement sickens me.

Randy: Dog, you don't voice your opinion enough, dog. Dude, I like hearing what you have to say. Dog, you are wise; sometimes you jump the gun on giving too much credit, but overall very sharp. Dude, I trust your opinion. Dog, you know the industry, you've played with the greats. Dude, share that wisdom. Dog. Dude. Dog. Pitchy. Pitchy. Riffs. Dog.

Paula: When you talk, I fast forward. I don't understand anything you say. I truly don't hear you at all. I'm not listening.

Simon: You speak the truth. You love to be hated. You think negativity is a virtue. You detract from the majority. You spot a fake when others are giving praise. You are the reason the show is a success. I relate to you. Is it possible that one can be that honest, insightful and unbreakable? He proves it is.

Other Idol fans out there? Do you agree? Disagree? The Weight wants to hear what you have to say.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nights At The Rothbury

There's a new festival in town. And they are not kidding around with that lineup! Looking to rival Bonnaroo and Coachella and with a location far removed from both, Michigan's Rothbury festival has just entered the increasingly overcrowded US festival game with a bang. This is not going to make the nearby 10KLF people very happy. I think we're going to start hearing much banter about this lineup being more akin to what Bonnaroo was trying to do a few years ago, as many critics of the 2008 'Roo lineup feel that the Tennessee festival has wrongly strayed too far from its hippie roots. With some mainstream artists to lead the way, such as DMB, John Mayer, and 311 and a heavy dose of nationally touring jambands like Widespread Panic, Phil and Friends, The Disco Biscuits, and Gov't Mule, this festival is sure to draw a massive crowd. They even lead Bonnaroo in the category of Phish member appearances at 2-0.

Taken straight from the press release:
On July 4th weekend 2008, ROTHBURY emerges as a new American celebration. For this next generation of the rock and roll music festival, ROTHBURY sets forth as a huge party with a purpose. Hosted at the one-of-a-kind Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan, the unique festival site offers trails, forests, fields, lakes and beach fronts, and even on-site lodging, bars and eateries. The four day, environmentally sustainable music and camping festival promises to be an inspiring cultural assembly; one where music fans, artists and progressive thinkers gather to celebrate much more than music.

It is ROTHBURY’s goal to harness the unique energy of the live music community into a durable social movement toward an important cause: Climate Change and Clean Energy Alternatives. In addition to a diverse and stellar lineup of over 70 bands on 8 stages, ROTHBURY will host a Think Tank and Energy Fair, and features unprecedented audience participation opportunities.

ROTHBURY’s current list of confirmed artists is as follows:
Dave Matthews Band
Widespread Panic
John Mayer
Phil Lesh and Friends
Thievery Corporation
Snoop Dogg
Modest Mouse
Michael Franti and Spearhead
Gov’t Mule
Slightly Stoopid
Colbie Caillat
The Black Keys
Yonder Mountain String Band with Jon Fishman
Gogol Bordello
Citizen Cope
Keller Williams and The WMD’S
The Disco Biscuits
Medeski Martin & Wood
Ray LaMontagne
Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Soul Stew Revival
Drive-By Truckers
Of Montreal
The Dresden Dolls
Brett Dennen
Taj Mahal
Mike Gordon
Zappa Plays Zappa
Crystal Method DJ Set
The Greyboy Allstars
The Secret Machines
Beth Orton
Jakob Dylan and the Green Mountain Rebels
A 3
Bettye Lavette
Yard Dogs Road Show
State Radio
The Beautiful Girls
Sage Francis
Tea Leaf Green
Emmitt Nershi Band
Panjea with Michael Kang
Railroad Earth
Pnuma Trio
The Juan MacLean
The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker
Dead Confederate
DJ Rekha
Motion Potion
DJ Rootz

Additional acts to be announced in the coming months.

Early Bird Tickets to ROTHBURY go on sale on Wednesday, February 27 at noon EST at and at 1-888-512-SHOW (Open Mon-Sat 9am-9pm CST).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One From The Queue: Across The Universe

As my third Netflix selection, I opted for the equally maligned and revered Beatles-soundtracked musical movie, Across The Universe. I will succintly say that I loved this movie. The creativity involved in building a believable plot around characters that the viewer cares about, while incorporating 33 Beatles songs where the unchanged lyrics actually drive the plot and make sense in context, is astounding. But I don't want to be the one to convince you to see this movie. I'm going to leave that to the real experts....take it away bipolarmoviereviews:

Ladies and Gentlemen...the defense rests.

Happy Ray-Day

The Weight wants to wish a very happy birthday to founding The Doors member, keyboardist, songwriter, and yes, actor, Ray Manzarek. Manzarek, 69, who is best known for perhaps the greatest keyboard accompaniment in the history of rock n' roll, also paved the way for future generations by innovating a unique style of sound and technique that influenced all genres of music until the present; and he co-founded THE DOORS...I already mentioned that, didn't I...

Radioheaded Your Way?

Here are Radiohead's North American tour dates for the first leg:

May 5: West Palm Beach, Fla. (Cruzan Amphitheatre)
May 6: Tampa, Fla. (Ford Amphitheatre)
May 8: Atlanta (Lakewood Amphitheatre)
May 9: Charlotte, N.C. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)
May 11: Bristow, Va. (Nissan Pavilion)
May 14: Maryland Heights, Mo. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)
May 17: Houston (Mitchell Pavilion)
May 18: Dallas ( Center)

Here are the cities for the tour's second leg (dates, venues TBA):

Los Angeles
New York
San Diego
San Francisco
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Source: Billboard

Monday, February 11, 2008

Security Guy Confessions

Like Disney World, New York City has an endless cast of characters. While Goofy, the Mad Hatter, and Uncle Scrooge are surely among them, trust me, the list from there is just the beginning. From taxi drivers, to the doormen, to the crazies on the subway, New Yorkers could write a novel...daily. And every once in a while, you connect with someone you would never have foreseen.

Take the security guy at my office building...Nice guy, always had a smile. And the guy is so impeccably dressed every day just to sit at a desk. I'm talking about alligator shoes or a pocket square matching his tie or a nice feather in his hat. So when the Knicks game came up today, I was happy to oblige. What a charming guy. And you can be sure musical interests worked their way in to the chat. Well the whole point of this post is that this gentleman, whom I had walked past countless times, it turns out used to live in Harlem back in the late 60's and early 70's. He resided on 114th Street and Frederick Douglass within walking distance of the Apollo Theater.

As a local jazz pianist that was somewhat of a legend in his neighborhood, he got to know the guys in the house band at The Apollo. So with full access to the famed venue, he spent evenings with James Brown talking about life, he would enjoy hours with McCoy Tyner the piano player for John Coltrane, and he spent time reviewing notes with Oscar Peterson, the late great jazz pianist. He had absorbed and lived amongst the legends that for me reside solely in Wikipedia. I wanted so badly to hear more, but it appeared as though the cultural good times hadn't lasted and here he was in an office building at 9 pm on Manhattan's West Side before going home to Brooklyn. I didn't press too much, but damn I want to know more.

Don't forget everyone has a story. Ask, and you may be amazed at who and what you learn about or where someone has been. Any interesting folks on your daily commute? Want to share your story on The Weight?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Someday We'll Know: Black Kids

Jacksonville, FL-based Bonnaroo-bound band Black Kids had their recent London show reviewed by Drowned In Sound, with a New Radicals comparison included.

Black Kids are playing the Coachella Festival this year too. Not bad for a band with only a 4-song EP released.

Check out DiS's Review here.

Listen to their 4 song EP, originally released for free on MySpace:

Kiss Dead

Come on Gene. Isn't there a better way to admit that a new Kiss album would never sell?
Kiss star Gene Simmons insists the legendary rockers will never make another record because music is a dying industry. And Simmons is convinced they won't be rushing back to the recording studio as there is simply no money to make in selling LPs any more.

He says, "There's no new Kiss material because there's no record industry. Any band who tries to do new material is trying to climb a slippery mountain. "Every day record companies are folding. It'd be nice to have new Kiss songs, but what's the business model? Do you just put songs on the Internet for free? Then what?''

Scorsese to Document Bob Marley

Filmmaker Martin Scorsese is lining up another documentary about a music legend - the Oscar winner has announced plans to make a movie about Bob Marley.

Marley's son Ziggy Marley will act as executive producer on the currently-untitled film, which is set for release on February 6, 2010, the 65th anniversary of the star's birth.
Despite recent news that "Last Waltz" director Martin Scorsese would be working on a George Harrison biopic, news is now released that he will also be working on a Bob Marley documentary. Coming off the heels of his Dylan movie "No Direction Home" and the Rolling Stones concert film "Shine A Light", Scorcese seems to really be enjoying putting these music-based movies together. I can't wait to see them.

Source: Starpulse

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bonnaroad Trip

If you told me I'd be going to Manchester, I'd appropriately pack my Man-U tee shirt and touch up on Oasis trivia. If you told me I'd be going to Manchester, TENNESSEE, I'd say I hope there is a damn good reason. Well there is. Besides the fact that I'm about 6 years late to the prom, this June, I'm making my first pilgrimage with the others members of The Weight to Bonnaroo. Have you seen the lineup? [if not, check the previous post] It is INSANE. Hell, I'd go for Pearl Jam alone! And Metallica. And The Allman Bros. And Phil & Friends. And Robert Plant. And Kanye. Not to mention the much anticipated "SuperJam" which I've heard so much about. You get the point. To set the record straight, I've been invited to attend the festival the past few years, but always opted against it; I guess I was waiting for the "perfect" lineup, i.e. Bonnaroo '08. In the words of Ben Franklin, "he that can have patience can have what he will."

Sure, it's a long drive, but who doesn't enjoy a good road trip? There's something very American about consuming enough fast food to make a farm animal violently ill, rotating through the same 8 Sirius channels a good 18,000 times, and hitting up every Wal-Mart within a 5 mile radius of your not-so-renovated motel. Like Clark Griswold before me, I'm hitting the "holiday road" to Manchester. So despite not even having bought tickets yet, my countdown officially begins today...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bonnaroo 2008 Lineup Revealed

See you in Manchester!

Pearl Jam
Jack Johnson
Kanye West
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Phil Lesh & Friends
My Morning Jacket
The Allman Brothers Band
The Raconteurs
Willie Nelson
Death Cab for Cutie
B.B. King
Sigur Ros
Levon Helm and the Ramble on the Road
Ben Folds
The Bluegrass Allstars Feat. Luke Bulla, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Bryan Sutton
Umphrey's McGee
Iron & Wine
Yonder Mountain String Band
Swell Season
Talib Kweli
Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi's Soul Stew Revival
Gogol Bordello
Broken Social Scene
Robert Randolph's Revival
Rilo Kiley
Lupe Fiasco
Against Me!
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
Pat Green
Tegan & Sara
Solomon Burke
Drive-By Truckers
The Avett Brothers
Israel Vibration
Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck
Phil Lesh / Larry Campbell / Jackie Greene
Aimee Mann
The Fiery Furnaces
Orchestra Baobab
Ghostland Observatory
Jose Gonzalez
Dark Star Orchestra
Minus the Bear
Donavon Frankenreiter
Lez Zeppelin
State Radio
Jakob Dylan
Two Gallants
The Sword
Vampire Weekend
Little Feat
Nicole Atkins
The Felice Brothers
Mason Jennings
The Lee Boys
Black Kids
Serena Ryder
Steel Train
Grupo Fantasma
Back Door Slam


Mike Birbiglia
Michelle Buteau
David Cross
Zach Galifianakis
Janeane Garofolo
John Mulaney
Jim Norton
Brian Posehn

Source: The Tennessean

Beatles Guru Ends His Magical Mystery Tour

Beatles guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is reunited with student George Harrison today, as he has passed away at the age of 91 (or so, apparently transcendental meditation dudes don't keep track of such things).

Maharishi's roster of famous meditators ran from The Rolling Stones to Clint Eastwood and new age preacher Deepak Chopra.

NME to Announce Bonnaroo Headliner At Midnight

Time to start getting excited folks. This has a serious chance of being the Manchester clue (#1). Come on Oasis and/or The Verve! Come to think of it, if this news is to announce a headliner, it's not going to be The Verve. They're not headlining Coachella, so they're certainly not going to be a headliner at Bonnaroo. Could Oasis be a's doubtful as much as I love them. Would NME do this just to announce Pearl Jam? They'd hardly be considered a surprise anymore. Zep maybe?

will reveal a surprise headliner for the 2008 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival at midnight EST.

The festival will take place June 12-15 in Manchester, Tennessee.

Stay tuned to NME.COM for all the details on Bonnaroo's special headliner and the complete line-up to date for this year's festival.

Source: NME


I'm home sick. And trapped in my apartment. Haven't eaten yet today. Chugging what's left of the orange juice I bought about two months ago (hey, its good till February 11th). And I'm watching the Blu-Ray version of Disturbia about a kid trapped in his home under house arrest. So, I'm watching the ultra high-def version of me for the next day or two. Nice, huh? This is so much worse than the days I faked sick to get to stay home and watch The Price is Right. This sucks.

These made me happy though...

Priceless Price is Right Moments

One of the worst contestants ever...


NEWSFLASH: Girls LIKE posting drunken pictures of themselves online. According to an article on, the days of shredding those drunken photos of your pledge sister using the male urinal are over. Rather, thanks to the friend "networking" site Facebook, the once taboo candid shots are now a la mode. So much so that there is even a group that emerged on Facebook aptly called "30 Reasons Girls Should Call It A Night" which boasts over 150,000 members -- and photos to prove it.

As for me, I should really get back to doing work [browsing Facebook for the next 24 hours for, uh, educational purposes...]

For the full article (and yes, pictures), click here

Quote of the Day

"[M]arketing triumphs. Soul is irrelevant."

--Bob Lefsetz on Tom Petty playing the Superbowl

Monday, February 4, 2008

An Obama Getaway


Set III: China Cat Sunflower > The Wheel > Other One > Sugaree, Eyes Of The World > Throwing Stones > Iko Iko > Playing Reprise

E: U.S. Blues

The entire concert is being rebroadcast by iClips at 2:30 and 7:30 PM PST.


Set 2 (acoustic):
Deep Elem Blues
Friend of the Devil
Ripple (Jackie on mandolin)

UPDATE 4: Setbreak - Phil gives a speech aka Barack Rap ... "we are the ones we have been waiting for." Mickey and Bobby talk about voting.

Set 1:
Half Step
Come Together

Setbreak / Barack Rap

UPDATE 3: And we're live...with some sound issues, but the picture is good. Barry Sless is in on pedal steel. Jackie sounds great on guitar. Brown Eyed Women...

UPDATE 2 [from PT at 11:11 PM EST] - "Just talked to a friend at the show and nothing has started yet... he said from the looks there was still a huge line along market st."

UPDATE: Direct link to stream -

[paste into Windows Media Player] ... still just an iClips logo for me though.....

Anyone else having problems getting into the Deadheads For Obama webcast on iClips? Why can't they get this technology working? Weren't they expecting a big hit on their servers? I'm disappointed.

Setlist confirmed:

1st Set
Barakdown Palace>
Obama Tried>
Barak Muddy River
Barak Throated Wind
Looks Like Obama>
Barak Peter->
Wang Dang Dobama

2nd Set
Barak Star>
Obama each other>
Baraks of Rain
Obama in The Rain
What’s Become of the Barak
Never Trust a Woman*>
Loose Hillary
Uncle Barak’s Band
AlObama Getaway
Barak B, Goode

E: Barakdown Palace> Throwing Stones

No catchy title, just Kurt Cobain.

The Ovation channel is a hidden gem. At first glance, you assume it consists solely of looped airings of The Nutcracker Suite and the burgeoning music scene of Cameroon. But a few years back, after stumbling upon a popular series of music documentaries hosted by George Martin, I gave the channel a well-deserved second chance. Since then, it's been part of my regular DVR rotation, recording at least 1-2 shows per week ranging from the life of Andy Warhol to a history of the Beat generation. A few weeks ago, when checking the channel lineup, I was immediately intrigued by an upcoming documentary/indie film called The Last 48 Hours of Kurt Cobain -- a must see, of course. Tonight, I finally got around to watching it. It was quite interesting to say the least, and I learned a lot about a man who although I practically worshipped from ages 13-17 (and now, once again), I knew so little about.

The title is a bit of a misnomer -- the film actually intertwines the story of Kurt's childhood, his teenage years, the rise of Nirvana and of course, his final days. There are no interviews with Dave Grohl, Krist Novolselic or Courtney Love and only sparse footage of the band as we remember them. In fact, I don't recall hearing a single sound snipet of Nirvana's music throughout the 90 minutes. Rather, the filmmaker personalizes Cobain by seeking out notable people from Kurt's past, including his grandfather, some shady dude he lived with in high school, one of the band's original drummers and a girl he dated for 3 years prior to meeting Love. They are all just "regular" people from the outskirts of Seattle. One exception is Duff McKagan, former bassist of Guns N' Roses, who surprisingly plays a fairly predominant role throughout the film. Little did I know, McKagan was one of the last people to interact with Cobain before his suicide (coincidentally, the two sat next to eachother on a plane from L.A. to Seattle after Cobain "fled" from rehab). McKagan offers much insight on the addiction aspect of Cobain's life, which naturally included many of his own experiences with drug abuse.
[3rd grade book report ending] The film is certainly not controversial nor does it really spark any emotion like say, Imagine or Heart of Gold does. If you're looking for something that explores the mysterious circumstances surrounding Cobain's death or a montage of live concert footage, try Nirvana - Live! Tonight! Sold Out! or the Dateline investigation special that aired a few years back. But if you want to learn more about the life of one of the great[est] rock icons, then I recommend you go to your local library [Netflix] and check this film out for yourself (sorry, I couldn't resist!). Unfortunately we all know how it ends...
A few years back, I was in Washington state with another member of the Weightstaff. Although we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the backwoods of Sequim and the mountains outside of Port Angeles, I feel like we missed out a little on the "real" culture of Seattle, especially some of the more notable "grunge" landmarks, many of which that were documented in the film. I'm talking about the mexican restaurant where Cobain frequented and enjoyed his rum-raisin pudding or the bar he went to where he was last seen alive. Although, we did see Pearl Jam at the Gorge -- not too shabby...

Quote of the Day

"I am actually thinking about the parade that moved from Boston to New York City."

--Michael Strahan / Superbowl Champion / NY Giants

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Thoughts from the Dark Side

I finally opened my Dark Side of The Moon vinyl album I bought at Virgin. It's been sittin' there on my shelf for about two months. I had to find the right time. Listening to Dark Side, the king of the headphone albums, takes time and patience. You don't just throw 'Great Gig in the Sky' on to brush your teeth before you run out the door in the morning. The album belongs in its full form.

Mp3s screw with this "full album" concept. But does it matter? No one is recording an album like Dark Side very often. Sorry Jay-Z. The saying may go, "the more things change the more they stay the same." But that person was NOT talking about the current record business. I'm guessing full albums are going to go the way of HD-DVD, that is to say, into the "ideas of the past" junkyard (That's right next to the Jamband Graveyard for those keeping track!!).

I guess its kind of a sad time, this whole death of the album. As I've mentioned before, I feel a strong connection to listening to and purchasing vinyl. I miss the days of learning what Track 3 is, and what Track 12 is. My Dark Side album is tangible, its big and bulky and the DSOTM prism, in all of its full cardboard glory, is art. CD covers were so much worse and mp3s, well forget about visuals. Sure, Apple shows cover art on nanos and iPhones, but the album cover is a dead scene. Not only is the Dark Side album I have a nice thing to be able to hold, but it comes with freakin' posters. 3 of 'em! Two of which were available as inserts in the vinyl packaging of the original album version from 30 years ago, as well as a new 30th anniversary poster commemorating the album. I felt like a kid opening a pack of baseball cards with this thing. It was very cool to get the extras and to slide the physical album out of its jet black paper sleeve. Too bad there wasn't any powder-covered gum that snaps in two like a twig. But the dust probably would have just gotten into the grooves.

Here is the full package sprawled out onto my apartment floor...

Back to Dark Side, it truly is a full album. You take the journey and you EARN getting to Eclipse. You don't put this album on shuffle, or mix it with a playlist. What other albums are truly like that...that need the order, start to finish? Are there others? And more importantly, will there ever be another one again?!?

Radio Bonnaroo Lineup Clues

Radio Bonnaroo, broadcast from the official website, has stated a number of clues that can be deciphered to reveal some of the bands that will be playing this year's festival. The Internet has already been wildly speculating as to what these clues mean.

The clues are:

Clue #1 "There is more than one Manchester."

Clue #2 "Memphis isn't Albany"

Clue #3 "Clouds taste this way"

Clue #4 "Some Herrings are red, Jimmy"

Clue #5 "Hard Substance, Soft Substance"

Clue #6 "Janis Joplin's reserves will be preserved"

Clue #7 "Rumors are just rumors, but twist them sideways, grow your humor hair and they become a more yen reality. No, this is not about Fleetwood Mac"

Clue #8 "It's not sour, what is sowed in the earth"

Clue #9 "Three certain birds, add one"

Clue #10 "Look to the center of Europe to get the sound, but the band comes form all around."

Clue #11 "Here is another clue for you message board people. Open up the church and you will see the steeple. Some of your guesses have been way off but correct for the wrong clues. Now I must cough."

Based on what I've read so far, here are the answers that I think have the most merit:

1. Oasis / Verve / Manchester Orchestra / David Gray (please let it be Oasis AND The Verve. It should also be noted that Manchester Orchestra played the festival last year. LATEST: David Gray is from Manchester, England and is on ATO Records, home of many Bonnaroo artists of the past)
2. MIA
3. Metallica / Air / Roger Waters (I'm the only one to guess Air, but I think's its a good answer. I'm reading Roger Waters but I can't imagine he'd headline both Coachella and play Bonnaroo)
4. WSP (too obvious for me as well as many others) / Led Zeppelin / ARU
5. Iron and Wine
6. Pearl Jam (seems like a lock to me)
7. The Whigs (I don't get this one, but it's been repeated more than once)
8. Alison Krauss and Robert Plant / Sigur Ros
9. Counting Crows / Black Crowes / Ryan Adams and The Cardinals (I continue to see speculation on these three acts, but based on the clue, I don't agree)
10. Gogol Bordello
11. ??

I love that the Bonnaroo people have turned this into a puzzle to build up some Internet buzz leading up to Wednesday's reported announcement. It's just yet another move that proves they are thinking outside the box. I'll be in Manchester, TN in June no matter who's on the lineup, but I'm pretty pumped about Pearl Jam being included.

Do you have any guesses to add?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bonnaroo Lineup Announcement on Wednesday

The Internet is abuzz with rumors stating the lineup for Bonnaroo 2008 will be released some time this Wednesday, 2/6. Artists believed to be confirmed include Willie Nelson, Pat Green, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, and BB King.

Stay tuned...

Source: Inforoo