Entertain Your Ears: Bonnaroo Preview

I am currently enduring my third hour of Bonnaroo traffic and have thankfully switched from driver’s to passenger’s seat. Now that I can safely type without endangering myself and other drivers, I can tap out a Bonnaroo preview for you here on my phone.

2010 marks my second consecutive trip to Bonnaroo and while the traffic we are currently experiencing is far from ideal, it is giving me adequate time to consider this year’s quite stellar lineup. Unlike 2009, this year’s opening night acts are artists that I am very interested in seeing. Manchester Orchestra, Neon Indian, The Temper Trap, and The xx are all bands that I have been itching to see live. I missed my chance to see Temper Trap in Columbus, OH back in March and will thankfully have the chance to here. Their album is easily one of my favorites of the year so far and is easy to recommend.

Two early day performers on Friday are The Gaslight Anthem and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes. Gaslight’s track “’59 Sound” is the kind of tune that will get your head bobbing as soon as it starts. Kings of Leon fill in Friday’s headliner slot, but two late late-night acts are some of my most anticipated. Scott Mescudi aka “Kid Cudi” put out what I considered to be one of the freshest rap albums in recent memory with his debut Man on the Moon. Knowing that his sophomore disc is set to release later this summer has me primed to see a potentially dynamite combination of old and new material.

Saturday’s lineup is co headlined by music icon Stevie Wonder and rap superstar Jay-Z. The mere chance to see Stevie Wonder perform live all but justifies the festival’s admission cost by his inclusion. Other Saturday highlights include Mumford and Sons, Weezer, and The Dead Weather. Much like Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in 2009, I fully expect Allison Mossheart to command the stage. One of my favorite parts of this third Jack White band is that White puts himself on the drums and let others take the spotlight.

When Sunday finally arrives and the Manchester sun has all but had its way with us, there is still no shortage of great bands to see. Against Me!, Dropkick Murphys, and Rise Against anchor another solid Sunday punk lineup at the This Tent. Other artists on my personal “want to see” list include Regina Spektor, They Might Be Giants, and Phoenix. Closing out the festival will be Dave Matthews Band. While I personally don’t think that Phish’s festival closing performance can be topped, I believe that DMB will put on a spirited set.

Come Monday, with bleary eyes we will pack our tents and make the long trek back to our hometowns. I have see license plates for states much further away than humble Ohio and it let’s me know how truly special events like Bonnaroo are. Friends and strangers coming together to enjoy some of the best music this world has to offer. Bonnaroo is a lot like Las Vegas. You always want to come back even if you barely slept the entire trip and got more drunk than you care to admit. The memories of amazing performances and times spent with friends will stick with you your whole life.

Entertain Your: Sports – The Question in Cleveland

With time winding down in the 4th quarter of Game 6 between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, things looked grim. It was win or go home for Cleveland, and everyone was still waiting for Lebron James to play like the MVP we all knew so well. Down 10 points, Lebron hit consecutive 3′s to cut the deficit to four. Here was the Lebron we had been missing since Game 3. The Celtics barely took notice and pushed the lead back to nine with less than two minutes to play. It was at this point that the Cavaliers quit. Nine points in 90 seconds is indeed a mountain to climb, but it’s not an impossible task. It seemed like they knew deep down that even if they forced a Game 7 that they were simply delaying the inevitable. Air seemingly drained out of the bar where we had gathered to watch this game. One of my friend had his head in his hands, and I could only say that we should be used to this by now. The Cavs had been unmasked by a Boston team that outplayed and outplayed them every step of the way. Game 3 proved to be an anomaly, and in the end Doc Rivers took Mike Brown to school on how to properly coach a Playoff series. I have made peace with this. I’ll say it plain and simple: Boston deserved to win and the Cavaliers did not. The question now remains, what will Lebron do now? Continue reading

Entertain Your Ears – Concert Review – Passion Pit

March 31st, 2010 marked the unofficial kick off of my Spring/Summer concert bonanza, and it started on a high note.  Hailing from Cambridge, Massachusetts, electronic dance pop rockers @PassionPit played to a sold out Lifestyle Communities Pavilion (or the LC as everyone actually calls it).   I had been looking forward to seeing this band live for quite sometime and spent much of my workday blasting their debut album Manners on my iPod to properly ready myself.  With my concert going gal pal Val (that rhyming was not intended but I am leaving it in) accompanying me we arrived at the LC just in time to catch the last few songs of Bear Hands’ set.  This band was completely unknown to me at the time but I like what I heard.  In all honesty I give a lot of credit to the bookers at the LC because trying to pick compatible lead in acts for a band such as Passion Pit must have been daunting.  After some post concert research I discovered that Bear Hands is signed to Cantora Records, which also happens to be home another of my favorite bands, MGMT.  Any band under the same roof as MGMT is worth further investigation, which I plan on doing soon. Continue reading

Upcoming Entertain Your Articles

This last weekend has given me a lot to write about.  Here is a list of topics/article ideas that I am either currently in process of writing or at the very least mulling around.

UPDATED 4.1.10

  • PAX East – General thoughts on the convention and why I will definitely be going back next year
  • Review of  God of War III (almost finished, just wanna shoot some video before I post)
  • My PAX impressions on Crackdown 2 and why I’m not entirely sold (this is in a rough form at present)
  • Mulling around some sort of backlog segment giving some coverage to older games that I am just now getting around to such as Red Faction Guerilla
  • Trying to come up with more ways of incorporating video into the site (I might be buying a capture card so I can record straight off my game systems)

If you have any ideas on content you would like to see please hit up the comments section and let me know what you would like to see.

Entertain Your Gamer – PAX Impressions – Split/Second

One of the games that I was fortunate enough to get some time with at PAX East in Boston this past weekend was Split/Second.  Developed by UK based Black Rock Studios, which is itself a division of Disney Interactive.  Black Rock previously developed and released the ATV stunt racer Pure in 2008.  Split/Second is an upcoming arcade-style racer set for release on May 18th, 2010.  I got to play through the single race, single track demo that was on display twice.  With the game releasing in just over a month and a half I feel pretty confident in saying that we were being shown close to final code for the game.

Those of you that follow this blog may recall that I also gave some beta impressions for another soon-to-be-released arcade racing game called Blur which is set to release on May 25th.  For those that remember the third person character action game throwdown between Prototype and Infamous in 2009, you may already be asking yourself what differentiates Split/Second from other arcade style racers such as Blur, especially considering their close proximity of release.  While Blur can easily be boiled down to Mario Kart, but with real cars, Split/Second offers us something different.

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Entertain Your Gamer – Beta Impressions – Blur

If you are at least as old as I am then you should be able to think back and remember the late 90′s with relative ease.  Release in North America in 1997, Mario Kart 64 was arguably one of the most fun kart racing games ever released.  Playing four player split-screen games with friends was some of the most fun you could have on the console.  Skip ahead 13 years.  Bizarre Creations, creators of the venerable Project Gotham series of racing games, has taken its mind to creating a power based action racer.  March 8th marked the beginning of the semi-public multiplayer beta on Xbox Live.  If you remember Mario Kart fondly, then Blur is going to be right up your alley. Continue reading

Entertain Your Gamer – Review – Heavy Rain

How far would you go to save someone you loved?  This is not a question that is asked in many video games, let alone treated as seriously as it is in Heavy Rain.  Created exclusively for the PS3 by French company Quantic Dream, and directed by studio founder and CEO David Cage, Heavy Rain is a hard game to classify.  Cage himself coined the term “interactive drama” to describe his creation, and this term is apt.  The opening chapter introduces us to Ethan Mars, happily married, and father of two sons, Shaun and Jason.  You wake up and go about tasks such as brushing your teeth, working, and preparing for your son’s birthday party later in the day.  This may not sound like the most exciting game from the outset, but this introduction teaches players about the intricacies of Heavy Rain’s rather unique control scheme.  Most interactions will generate prompts on the screen for the character to follow.   Some are simple button presses while others are flicks of the right controller stick.  This game also features some of the best use of the Sony Sixaxis controller to date.  Your wife arrives home with your sons and you play with them.  Focus too much on one boy and he may grow mad at you.  All of these little sequences serve to teach you one very important thing, and that it that your actions as the character have tangible consequences.

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