Fergie wins the Straight Off the Runway Award for her stunning Jean Paul Gaultier gown. Yes, it is totally sheer lace and the color is extremely bold, and most will take one look and say no. But this is how couture is done!
This dress hit the runway in Paris only two weeks ago and seeing it walk down the red carpet gave me the same chills as seeing it on a runway. Do yourself a favor and check out Gaultier’s line. It’s full of antics like lit cigarettes as accessories and giant gem-toned wigs, but this line is a great example of the updated ’50s inspired trend (see entire collection here: http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/S2012CTR-JPGAULTI)
Rihanna, without contest, wins the Sexiest Look Award. The creation of this stunning low cut, backless piece was actually a collaboration between her and Giorgio Armani.
Katy Perry wins the Elegance Award for this delicate Elie Saab gown. The soft hue, beautiful train and simple silhouette is a change for her past edgier choices — perhaps a pending divorce makes Katy conservative? Whether Russel Brand is to thank for this look or not, I adore the softer side of Miss Perry.
Kelly Price wins the Dressing for Body Type Award. This frock is perfectly cut for her figure, I especially love the placement of the waistline and cap sleeve details. And the color could not have been more flattering!
Jessie J wins the Rockstar Award for this gown by Julien Macdonald. The metallics remind me of a night at Studio 69 and the shape is ultra flattering.
I feel a bit nostalgic for a moment.
A few days ago I posted some information on Facebook that I recently discovered on Buddy Holly. I felt this was an appropriate time to discuss this at this time of the year. I was a kid listening to my mom’s old records decades ago and among them were “At the hop,” by Danny & the Juniors and “Not Fade Away,” by the Crickets. That was Buddy Holly’s former band.
On Feb. 3, it will be the 53rd anniversary of the death of three rising music stars whose lives ended suddenly. They are Charles “Buddy” Holly, Ricardo Valenzuela “Ritchie Valens” and JP Richardson aka the “Big Bopper.”
They had just finished a gig in Clear Lake, Iowa, at the winter dance party tour and a few minutes later their lives would be taken in a plane crash about five miles north of clear Lake Iowa en route to their next show in Fargo, North Dakota.
Buddy Holly’s band at that point had released about six singles and had sold 4-5 million records, Ritchie Valens was just 17 and had also released a handful of singles, he was too sick to board a tour bus, which had a broken heating system. The Big Bopper also was recovering from flu-like symptoms and requested a seat on the plane.
Ritchie Valens, for those too young to remember — most of us were long from being born yet — was just starting out and had only a few hits in just about eight months with Donna, “Common Lets Go” and “La Bamba.”
JP Richardson was considered the main act at the time and excited the crowds with “Chantilly Lace,” his biggest hit.
Years later, Don Mclean would record “Miss American Pie,” in memorial partly to the tragic event remembering “the day the music
died.” Contrary to popular belief, the single engine 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza that the singers flew in was not nicknamed Miss American Pie and most of the song is not about the legendary trio, only part of it is.
The Surf Ballroom’s annual commemorative event honoring the musical legacies of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson began in 1979.
This Feb. 2-4, 2012, the Surf ballroom will host an all new Winter Dance Party in anniversary of the bitter sweet events that happened back in 1959.
The sold-out event this year will feature Pat Boone, Jason D. Williams, Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, Marshall Lytle of the Original Comets, Tommy Allsup (Buddy’s guitarist), The Flamingos, Danny & the Juniors, The Bobbettes, John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party and Sid King & The Five Strings!
Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012
Doors open at 7 p.m. Nightly
Ticket Price: $ 110.00 Adv / $ 125.00 Door
(Again, sold out)
As promised, I’m writing about two out of the many area musicians. The first is Keith Franx, native of Minneapolis who came to Quincy to live with his family in 1994. Keith remembers a time in the land of 10,000 lakes when Prince, Soul Asylum and the Replacements were just starting out. “Oh man, Soul Asylum was TERRIBLE back in those early days,” he says.
I have seen Keith play locally a few times. Thursday night was the third. I showed up at a local watering establishment just to listen to Keith.
Keith plays a bluesy, soul type of one-man show guitar while at times playing the harmonica simultaneously. That takes a lot of talent. He is not a lead guitarist though. He‘s a strummer, so he is a in a different league than a BB King. Nevertheless, Keith has written and recorded hundreds of songs. From listening to him, his influences range from Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, Tom Waits, Black Crows and a little bit of Barenaked Ladies — sorry man. Keith pauses between sets to tell a story of his fourth grade crush, his teacher. He was excited when he got to sit next to her a field trip she took them, too. Some movie I had never hear of, “Sounder.” But, most importantly, he told the story of rushing through the airport to have his picture taken with a guy named Taj Majal, who is an American Grammy Award winning blues musician. At the time, he didn’t know who that was.
He also incorporates elements of world music into his music. No, I have not heard that much of him, but members of the audience certainly did. Keith admits that is his REAL influence. I’ll give him that. Keith’s next show is Feb. 3 at Johnny Bang Bang’s.
Next, I will be doing a CD review of a band named Purple Melon, an unsigned band that claims to represent the best of British rock.
Interpol released its fourth album almost a year ago to decidedly good reviews.
Often compared to earlier post punk bands like Joy Division, the precursor to New Order, Interpol’s trademark sound was marked by repetitive oscillating guitar notes in rhythm, droning vocals and long instrumentals.
Interpol was formed in 1997 during the tail end of the grunge hype of the decade as Pearl Jam, Jewel and Garbage ruled the airwaves. Interpol wanted to get back to the basics with a first wave approach to modern rock. Signed to Matador records in 2002, Interpol released the singles PDA, NYC and Obstacle 1 to excellent reviews.
After the success of their first album, Turn on the Bright Lights, the band followed up with their second success, the critically acclaimed Antics which made Spin magazines annual top ten list for 2004. Their sound changed to a more pop based style more heavily influenced by bands like Roxy Music.
This catapulted them to the charts and their single Slow Hands received heavy rotation on MTV and “C’mere” and “Take You on a Cruise” are live concert favorites by the band.
After exhaustive touring across the globe they set out to release their next album.
During 2004, second wave bands like the Killers, Hot Hot Heat, and Death Cab for Cutie were changing the music scene as the White Stripes, the Strokes and Jet began to lose their sizzle. Older groups jumped on the bandwagon, with Morrissey and the Pixies touring after long hiatuses.
In 2007, Our Love to Admire was released, big name label and all. Their third release was dubbed by critics as rushed and did not contain the luster of the first two releases as their sound became more heavily dark and very repetitive in the use of rhythm-snubbing the artistic chord changes and melodies of the first two releases. After another heavy schedule of touring, drummer Sam Fogarino did a side project and called Magnetic Morning and bassist Carlos Dengler left the group, although not before recording their fourth record.
The band then made an interesting move. In the summer of 2010, the band toured prior to releasing their fourth record. They did, however, perform songs from that record to positive response from their audiences.
Their most recent release is called, simply, Interpol.
Interpol goes back to earlier roots with shorter songs and a more poppy edge to it. “Success” and “Barricade” are two singles that really stand out in the record. For the most part, the doom and gloom of their previously release have paved way for a more up-tempo and, may I say, danceable beat.
Success drives creative zip to frequent bass riff changes amongst a steady drum beat and Paul Banks usual stark vocals soaring above the repeating guitar melody. Typical of their usual sound only this time, more punch, less introspection. No lengthy instrumental toward the end. We don’t see that until Barricade.
Barricade starts off with a powerful bass and drum rhythm and the usual Daniel Kessler repeating distorted guitar riffs and Paul’s monotonous melodic vocal verse, until the chorus rips it all away.
They have retained their old sound but added a new twist to it. Alternative rock but with a power pop edge:
It starts to feel like a barricade
that keep us away
to keep us away, it kind of does
It starts to feel like a barricade
to keep us away
Keep us away
The song ends with a return to their old roots and the lengthy instrumental to top it off only with Paul ranting “full speed half blind” over it all.
“The Undoing” adds a dark edge to a melancholy melody. Kind of like the first album meets the third. Add organ overture at the end:
I was on my way
I was on my way to tell you it’s no good
I was on my way
Chasing my damage
“Safe Without” combines an offbeat drum beat with an offkey tension-release guitar riff as if to identify some light at the end of the tunnel: a tad reminiscent of their third release.
I’m not the hero out the gate
So much to feel, so much to gain
My higher reason will take pain
I’ll be okay, I’ve got my shapes
We are not alone, we share our stake
And I think the winds all will be wonderful
I am safe without it
Suffice it to say, Interpol will always have an audience however small or large. Sometimes listening to an album is not always pleasant. Sometimes you have to give it time to grow on you. This is that type of record, at least in my opinion. It’s good. It’s better than good, actually. The entire track set is available track by track on youtube. Give it a try.
One of the hottest bands in London at the moment is the Arctic Monkeys and they have been receiving a good deal of press from indie mags like NME and Pitchfork.
Arctic Monkey blends a sultry style of punk with classic post modern into an indie style that is similar to that of Franz Ferdinand, only a bit tougher. Remember how hot Franz Ferdinand got for awhile? Titles like ‘Don’t sit down cause I’ve moved your chair’ and ‘I bet you look good on the dance floor’ might be grounds for chaos. The kind of smartmouthed words that start fights. You know the type. They combine mischievous, oscillating guitar riffs, powerful drum beats, raucous vocals with melodic refrains and keyboards, stealing a Duran Duran lyric here and there.
Or at least they used to. Their sound has changed a bit lately. Think Echo and the Bunnymen meets the Sex Pistols.
Some background is needed. 2007’s Teddy Picker starts with a repetetive, looped guitar riff, with a little overdrive pedal added, backed by a roll of the drums followed by a steady drumbeat.
Lyrics come in after a few bars:
Despair up to the point when they provoke
The punchline before they have told the joke
The sheer desperation to be seen
Staring at the television screen
And it’s the thousandth time and it’s even bolder
Don’t be surprised when you get bent over
He told ya, that you were gagging for it
In “I bet you look good on the dance floor:”
Stop making eyes at me and I’ll stop making eyes at you
….your name isnt Rio but I don’t care for sand
And lighting the fuse might result in a bang
Formed in 2002 in High Green, England, the band consists of Alex Turner on vocals, Jamie Cook on guitar, Nick O’Malley on bass and Matt Helders on drums. Their debut album ‘Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not’ became the fastest selling debut album in British music history.
Today is a little mellower for them. Their latest, 2011’s ‘Suck it and see’ was released in June of this year-the title on the cover sleeve forced many US stores to cover it with an ‘Explicit Lyrics’ sticker. A bit of spillover from the indie revival of the early 2000’s fused with a little hint of Bosstones and a bit of Dropkick Murphys (minus the accordion and add some attitude), ‘Suck it and see’ has received a great deal of critical acclaim since its release.
Maybe because they ve matured a bit since their earlier releases-or at least their sound has. Their sound, as of late, has morphed closer to pychedelia than punk, paying closer attention to harmony and guitar solos in favor of pissing people off.
The title track single was released with a ‘clean edit’. ‘Don’t sit down cause I’ve moved your chair’ starts with a simple four chord acoustic melody and evolves into a sweet, harmomic anthem with whimsical lyrics that really don’t seem to have any meaning. Their evolution kindof reminds me of the bully in junior high that found a girlfriend by tripping her in the hallway first. Their music still has the sarcasm but now you might not be too embarrassed to play it in front of your parents.
Find a well known hardman and start a fight
Wear your shell suit on bonfire night.
Fitting a circular hole with a peg that’s square
But just don’t sit down cause I’ve moved your chair.
The Hellcat spangled shalala likewise puts a more matured spin on their sound and feels more like a 1970’s England Dan and John Ford Coley song than anything else.
I took the batteries out of my mysticism and put em in my thinking cap.
This is not the same Arctic Monkeys that we saw in 2007. Then again, Echo and the Bunnymens sound changed through the years too. So did U2, the Cure and the Strokes. This is more listenable: less abrasive, less punch. It still has a good beat and the guys are every bit as talented as they were back then. Even more so. The group has added some depth to its sound. Orchestral keyboard melodies have replaced the distorted guitars and the vocals are layered with more backing harmonies. The question is whether it will still keep their older audience. We shall see.
I have a lot of ideas. Like most people, the majority of my ideas are unrealized, unrealistic or down right ridiculous. Although frankly, the differences between a ridiculous idea and a great one are often very subtle. So sometimes, you’ve just got to give it a try and see what happens.
A year ago, Christopher Mackenzie and I kicked off an idea that sounded great to us, but were fairly certain we were the only ones who felt that way. Chophouse Hijack. Born of the realization that most local restaurants had difficulty drawing patrons on weeknights, we decided it was a great opportunity to have a little fun, and get some people out and about in the middle of the week to support local restaurants.
The premise was pretty simple. We setup a time to go to a restaurant on a weeknight and take it over. We play our own music, bring in a band, bring in an artist, play board games, show some movies on a projector… whatever we want. In exchange, the restaurant gets a little extra business on an otherwise slow night of the week, and we get to have some fun.
We were pretty shocked when over 40 people crammed into The Olive on our very first event.
We played some rockin’ tunes and played them loud while the original “Aeon Flux” animated series was shown on the wall and patrons dined by candlelight. To our surprise, it was a great success! Pops Pizza was next featuring Luke Westberg on stand-up comedy detail and live DJ “Car Thief” (http://www.myspace.com/iamthecarthief) mixing some tracks. Scott Frese of Pops reflects, “it was one of the most unique ideas I have ever seen and it packed the house all night. Everyone loved it.” Over the next year we got together quasi-monthly and hit Spring Lake, Taste of Thai, Jimbeanas, The Pier and Fitz’s on 4th…packing the house on nearly every occasion.
So after what started as a quirky idea to have a little fun on a weeknight, Chophouse Hijack rolls on and will be celebrating it’s one year anniversary on Monday, Sept. 20. We’ll be going back to Spring Lake country club to celebrate, and while we ransacked them with a hijacking last spring and usually try to keep locations as fresh as possible… Chef Michael Mitchell and Sous-Chef Pete Magliocco made us the freshest offer we couldn’t refuse. Everything on the menu the night of the hijack will be locally sourced! Given that the fall harvest is upon us, it’s obviously a great opportunity to do something special. Of course, no reservations are necessary and Hijackers don’t need memberships!
While the final menu is still in the works for the event, some of the produce for the menu is being provided by John Wood Community College’s Sustainable Local Foods Farming program! This is an excellent manifestation of the community cooperation that the Hijacking concept has come to represent.
“JWCC is green in more ways than its school colors,” Tracy Orne, Director of Public Relations and Marketing at John Wood Community College, said. “Students can take a course or the full certificate and it’s not just about learning how to grow crops, it includes a marketing component for those entrepreneurs out there or who want to produce and sell food locally…it can be very profitable, keeps resources local and helps the environment at the same time.”
In addition to contributing the fruits of their labor to the menu, program coordinator Dave Camphouse will be on hand to answer questions and let you know a little more about where your delicious meal that night comes from. I’m certainly excited about the co-op and believe that its a perfect synergy of what their program and the Hijackings are all about.
We’re planning on having live local music throughout the evening, and are brainstorming on some other ideas to make the night even more special. Most of the ones I’ve come up with so far are pretty ridiculous and unrealistic, but that’s no guarantee that I won’t do it anyway.
To share your crazy idea, or to learn more about Chophouse Hijack, the John Wood Sustainable Foods program, get signed up for facebook notifications, or pledge your attendance for the event, go to http://www.chophousehijack.com and you’ll be redirected to our facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/chophousehijack .