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
Today marked the unveiling of the lineup of artists that would be performing at this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN. What is Bonnaroo you ask? Up until the summer of 2009 I couldn’t.
Courtesy of Bonnaroo’s web page here is their take on the what their festival is all about.
“Bonnaroo brings together some of the best performers in rock and roll, along with dozens of artists in complementary styles such as jazz, Americana, hip-hop, electronica, and just about any contemporary music you can think of. In addition to dozens of epic performances, the festival’s 100-acre entertainment village buzzes around the clock with attractions and activities including a classic arcade, on-site cinema, silent disco, comedy club, theater performers, a beer festival, and a music technology village.”
I would contend that while Bonnaroo is indeed everything that is mentioned above, it is also so much more. This festival which last year attracted some 75,000 people is as much about music as it is about spending time with your fellow Roo-ers. I will say this right now. If you do not like camping or feeling a little dirty, then Bonnaroo might not exactly be your cup of tea. That being said however, if you are in any way a fan of music and don’t have qualms about hanging out with a few thousand strangers, then this festival might be right up your alley. Last year I went to Bonnaroo with one of my best friends, and two girls that I had met not even a week before at concert here in my hometown of Columbus, OH. These girls were Bonnaroo veterans and had been the last three years. The plan was simple, drive as close as we could the night before the festival was set to open, crash at a hotel, and meet up with the rest of group. “The rest of the group” consisted of another 8 people that our girls had met in previous adventures down to Bonnaroo. Despite the weather’s best attempts to stop us made it to Manchester in one piece. We all set up one big campsite and spent much of our time together, seeing as many bands as we could. If I had just camped with my buddy, and not with this giant group, I think with relative certainty that I would not have enjoyed the festival as much as I did. Forging new friendships is just as important as the music. I still keep in contact with many of the people I met that summer thanks to Facebook, and many of us are returning to enjoy the festival together again this year. Continue reading
Having gotten home rather late this evening, I did not get to spend as much time with the freshly released Beatles: Rock Band as I would have liked, but I wanted to post some initial thoughts. As a start, if you already like Rock Band and you like the Beatles, then this game is a no brainer purchase. What makes this game more than being a glorified 45 song track pack? It is clear that Harmonix has taken extreme care in the design of the game’s “Story.” Covering the full gamut of the Beatles 10 year career the game starts in famous Cavern Club in Britain and ends on the unforgettable rooftop concert at Apple Studios. The surviving members of the Beatles served as consultants during the game’s development and it really shows that this game was a true labor of love for those involved. Each chapter of the story covers a different time in the Beatles’ illustrious career and the songs chosen are well representative of each venue. I have played the first three, all of which are live performance venues, and the video vignettes preceding each chapter nicely showcase how Beatlemania is growing. There is one key addition to the standard Rock Band gameplay formula, and that is the addition harmony to the vocal tracks. On select songs, two or even three part harmonies can be sung by a full band, enabling an even closer representation of what being with the Beatles would have been like. The tracks included in the game have all been digitally remastered and sound excellent when blasting out your stereo speakers. One might think that the guitar tracks would be reletively simple given the era in which many of these songs were written, but that is far from the case. Even in the initial chapter playing guitar on expert reveals charts that are sufficiently challenging for even the most savvy Rock Band player. With even the limited time I have had with the game thus far I can safely say that this game is a must buy for any music game fan. If you are looking for a game that both kids and adults can enjoy then this game is an easy recommendation. I will post some additional thoughts on Beatles: Rock Band as I spend more time with it. Down the road the entire Abbey Road album will be available as DLC. I am playing on Playstation 3 and have all of the instruments necessary for full band play which is another area I really would like to write on after I get some friends over to my apartment. Let me know your thoughts on the game and I hope you are enjoying your time with it as much as I have thus far.