Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is a change in the air?

This past Monday modern democracy met Mike D and the results were unanimous. As the pollsters lined the anxious street alongside Amos’ Southend, the temperature began to dip, the sun slowly receded and that ‘change in the air’ that everyone has been talking so much about, it blew brisk.

The event began a week or so prior with an early announcement email. Beastie Boys are headlining a Rock the Vote type tour and Charlotte is on the list of important destinations. The motive behind the tour is to bring politically charged, forward ideal enlisting and thought provoking artists together to entertain as well as remind the youth of the importance to uphold their amazing right to vote! Word was out in the music community a month or so ago that the Beastie Boys were to take their voice to the people and that all were invited to join. In supporting the true ideals of the American Democracy way of life, the B-Boys held no prejudice to who was hoping on the tour bus. The acts range from Jack Johnson and Sheryl Crow to Santogold and Tenacious D. There was one major stipulation: The cause is to raise awareness, enlist non-registered voters and encourage us to all take part in this historic race for the Oval Office. That being said, Rage Against the Machine and the likes of Steve Earle did not make the cut.

Tucked inside the warmth of the neighborhood Tavern on the Tracks, my show going partner and financial backer to LTME (he spotted me on dinner and drinks), Phil T, and myself put the worries of the day aside and warmed our thoughts with the foam of a Newcastle and the chatter of the show to come. Throughout the day there unfolded much speculation of the show; will Tenacious D make a surprise appearance? He already did a gig at UNCC this very afternoon, surely he’ll make a stop! Phil T had been shooting me emails as the day progressed: 4 private tour buses all out front. Lots of security running around in yellow shirts not looking particularly fit I might add. It seems Phil T was stalking the grounds in preparation.

As the conversation grew I leaned over to my neighbor and drew him into the fold of our talks. He fast informed us that this was to be his 5th, no scratch that, 4th Beastie Boy show, and yes he could not be any more amped for the performance to get underway. Jordan, our new found friend, was riding solo after his buddy found himself stranded a mere 20min this side of Boone. A fate none of us wished to meet on the brink such an important evening. There was intermingling of the word of the day as we brushed up on the NCAA football weekend that had been and the UGA-FLORIDA GAME this coming Saturday. I recapped my thoughts on the Panthers game and we mumbled about our failure to secure a ticket to Hampton, fucking ticketmaster. But fear not, the true topic of the hour did soon come when he made the off the cuff remark: Seems funny to me that they are doing this show seeing as everyone there is already going to be voting the same way. That way of course being the Obama way. Now I don’t want to get into semantics here, but Phil and myself may or may not be voting that way, so Jordan, perhaps things aren’t always what they seem. You get a whiff of that change yet?

We soon wrapped the talks up, everyone provided their closing remarks, our moderator delegated her charges, I seceded to Phil T and as the incumbent I gladly accepted the challengers show of good faith via the daily special “Brass Monkey” shots.

For most of the tour the Boys have been and will hit up major venues, large arenas and well known coliseums. They are checking in at the largest city in every swing state. North Carolina in the age of 2008 now sees itself as an important swing state and Charlotte, in the shadows of the recent banking fiasco, is now a major point of influence for the upcoming election. There does remain one more variable for the area: not a whole heck of a lot of music venues, especially one that can cater to a show of this nature. Turns out Amos’ fit the bill (same location as the infamous Camel Cigarette Flaming Lips show).

Up first, Santogold. I dig Santogold. As noted at the mid break of the year, her debut album has won me over. Sure it’s running on practically the same platform as M.I.A., but she might appeal to a slightly smaller constituency. For her sake, I feel bad that the press has not spread the good word as it should. I believe she should take up as many grassroots stumpers as possible, guess I need to go door to door.

Santogold made her way through the main tracks from her album and did so with a very politically friendly smile. Despite not being known to most, she won the hearts of many over and by the time her set came to close folks were cheering for more. The set was predictable and so well rehearsed it almost seemed fake. She has a great voice, but much of what was delivered had digital track backing from the DJ. This made the backing vocals a little too prominent, like Santogold was lip synching, which she was not…I READ HER LIPS! The two dancers to either side of her strutted the odd movement and swagger of some top notch B-girls with island flavoring. She drew enough praise as to have another LTME fan overhear one of the venues’ patrons tell the assistant in the bathroom that “she’s pretty hot for a black chick, you into her?” Not in the spirit of the moment at all to say the least…jerk.


If you use Sheryl Crow, the answer is: nope.


And, if you so choose, you can Three MC and one DJ the shit out of a vote as well!
When we first stood out in the brisk breeze of the air of change, we being Phil T, Hash and myself, we enjoyed an up close greeting from Mike D and MCA. I gotta say kids, they aren’t as young as they were when I wore their shirts to school and blared their CD’s in my room, but I dare say they are even cooler now than they have ever been.

That sense of coolness certainly translates to the live show as well. Just sick. Not much to describe as the Beastie’s opted to leave the instruments on the bus and focused on the rhyme routine. What I can say is that the energy was perfect. They flow across the stage bouncing off one another physically and lyrically. The spontaneity was brilliant. Altering lyrics, changing timing, throwing the verses over new back beats, they make a song that you’ve heard the same way since 6th grade sound fresh and relevant…that ain’t easy seeing as hip-hop songs age faster than any other genre.

There is a feeling of mutual respect and appreciation as well as a rare comradeary amongst the Boys that transcends into the vibe of the sound and performance. I had seen the Beastie Boys only once before at the Gwinnet Civic Arena. I was far away then but flipped out over the stage show, costumes, lighting etc. Here I saw what true fans yearn for from their favorite acts: the crowning achievement of having being one of the most important and influential artists of all time, having toured the world over and over, charted all their albums and won all the big awards, now giving back to the fans in the confines of an intimate setting. To be as corny as possible, it was indeed a special evening and I can’t believe I was there (well I guess I can, because there ain’t no way the Beastie Boys were gonna come to town and I was not gonna be there rockin out!)

The show was around 13 songs, covered the catalog and closed with No Sleep Til Brooklyn, So Watcha' Want and Intergalactic. It don’t get no better than that folks.

Maybe there is a change coming, or maybe sometimes it is best to find the tried and proven in a new light. However you see it, the moment is real, take part.

I voted about an hour ago and it felt great.

Overall Rating:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What the Fuck happened to the Story about Michael Jackson and Prince??!!

This is some bullshit if you ask me! And I am asking me! So self; What the Fuck happened? You were on a roll, had folks writing in, reading the blog and then blaaaaaaah. Nada. Weak sauce LTME, weak, weak sauce.

Well there have been some distractions as of late. Namely a need to focus on other areas of my life, why my Bulldogs aren’t the team they are supposed to be etc. None of it really worthy of the complete collapse this amazing blog suffered of late. A true disrespect to both of my readers and most importantly I’ve been without my ‘self loathing excuse’ to write about my opinion on things to myself, my biggest critic. It’s a bit of an incestuous thing going on here at LTME, but I am still in love with LTME and LTME is willing to take me back.

So without further ado, I’ll give you the finish to the MJ vs. Prince story next week.

I’m messing with you (use: Will Ferrell from Old School voice)

The Man in the Purple don’t need to look at the Man in the mirror.

Prince is the greatest Pop star of all times. But he is not the King of POP.

-You’re losing me LTME, please do explain.

Well, it goes like this, according to me, written by me, for me. (Me doesn’t always abide by proper grammar.)

Prince is the spawn of a different source. He was raised to a different beat and that beat is funky as all get out. Prince is a true instrumentalist. He can sing, he can wail and I do mean wail on the electric guitar. He can make his way around a piano and understands the bass better than most hip-hop producers. When push comes to shove, well yeah, the man can dance as well.
Well a lot of folks fall into that realm, why is he so important?

Because Prince can turn himself on and off. He can force himself back into your lives and restate why he is so powerful. Just when you forget about Prince he shows up at your house with a purple cream pie and SMACK, you remember why you love that crazy SOB.

Prince made a movie about himself, starring himself an entire era before that was acceptable. He released one of the most successful soundtracks ever to go along with that film. He was Purple Rain and the hits came rolling in and Prince became the dominant sound of dance/pop music. Then he pulled away.

He picked up his guitar and starting writing some of the most sexually charged music ever produced and released on a major label. It wasn’t a fresh start for Prince, quite the opposite. Prince became IT, felt comfortable with how he went about doing that and realize he could do it again when he was ready.

Prince is the most consistent pop artist of all time. When I say consistent in reference to Prince, I don’t mean he does the same thing over and over again, I mean that he finds a way to stay in the public consciousness and does so at his own will.

Prince has a slew of successful albums. He also has some of the most recognizable pop songs of all time (Raspberry Beret, Little Red Corvette, When Does Cry etc.). He has reinvented himself, successfully mind you numerous times. He was a symbol. A freakin symbol. Who pulls that off? He is the backbone to the Jack Nicholson character in Batman (1989), even had hits songs from that film. He has his own club in Vegas. He released the most successful pop album launches of all time in England? What? How? He gave a free copy of his album to every person that bought his album. He didn’t make the charts for this stunt as it violates the ratings system guidelines, so what does he do? He rams through a 7 night run in London, selling out every night! Can’t think of many folks that could play the same venue, seven nights in a row and sell out every night. The man has staying power. When was the last time you heard a Michael Jackson song on the radio? When was the last time you heard about Michael Jackson? Prince, well he headlined one of the biggest music festivals in the world this year and forced record sales for tix (Coachella) and you might remember he played the Super Bowl in ’07.

Prince is truly the more balanced, complete artist, he is a league of the likes of Bowie and Talking Heads, Police etc. Jackson is in the league with Madonna.

But, does that mean Prince is the KING of pop? No.

The King has a different grasp. Did Elvis shred the guitar and headline festivals, make controversial albums? No, but he is the King of Rock. Why? Because he and Jackson went beyond music. They became something bigger than they could even understand. They became a reason. They became part of our culture, our history, our lives.

Jackson, as one reader put it, made people loose control. Legions of fans around the world would trample one another for a look at him. A child in war torn sub Sahara Africa knows of Michael Jackson and likely not Prince.

Prince, to me and LTME, is the better, more important artist. Jackson, will always reign as KING however.

So what does that make Prince in the rankings of pop?

Just that.

Friday, October 10, 2008

In memory of a friend

Benjamin Hawkins, will be memorialized today (10-10-2008) at 4:00 by namesake of a study room in the Student Learning Center (University of Georgia) on the 4th floor. Benjamin was killed one week after graduation in a tragic accident. Benjamin was a great person, student (Gridiron, SAE and graduated with a BBA with a 3.95 average, summa cum laude) and friend. He is missed.

Help support an organization that serves to help keep Benjamin in our minds as well as prevent such an event to occur again, ZINGO


Thursday, October 2, 2008

He's Got the Whole World in his Hand

Trick is, that hand’s got a sequined white glove drawn tight, with the index finger pointed to the sky. Now it may be an overzealous statement to wear a single glove and use it to define your prowess, but when you are the Greatest Pop Phenomenon to ever walk the earth, well, if the glove fits…

Born into a family with musical aspirations far exceeding the realm of possibility, Michael came of age under the searing spotlight, never imagining a world where he would not be the Greatest. It’s his na├»ve expectations of a predestined path that allowed him to never once question his own abilities and thus become a sensation unlike the world has ever known. It’s this same school of thought that has also forced him to become a recluse, a social outcast and a man of questionable character.

Regardless of the accusations, the pet monkeys, McCaulay Culkin and the amusement parks, there is without question one resounding fact about Michael Jackson: He is the King of Pop.

The Moon Walk, Billie Jean, Dancing Zombies, The Greatest Selling Album of All Time, 2 Time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Black or White?, 13 #1 Singles, the hat, the jacket and the glove. Everything Michael does makes him more of an iconoclastic media star. He defines an era of music, culture and expression. He overcame adversity, troubled family issues, the pressures of being on top and he did it all in his own style.

It would difficult to find a human over the age of 13 that has not at least heard of Michael Jackson in some way shape or form or at least be once removed from someone who has. That is the kind of name power given to Dictators, Leaders, Religious figureheads and the rarest of artists. But that’s just it, Michael is among the rarest of all artists.

But is he the greatest?

The boy can dance, the boy can sing. He’s got a look, he’s got a way. But he also has competition.

The man in the Purple Suit…