As I was in the train heading towards the Kendrick Lamar concert tonight, I questioned if the $72 I paid for the ticket was worth it. Kendrick had a performance at Lettermen before his first Roseland Ballroom show. The TDE rapper had a busy night planned on February 26th, but he did not disappoint. He stormed the stage with a ton of energy.
The Compton native began the concert after a 30 minute delay with his Jeezy collaboration, “Westside, Right On Time,” and then transitioned into his Section .80 classic, “Hol Up.” K. Dot started off with mostly mixtape tracks and then performed some album tracks towards the end of the night. Top Dawg Entertainment took over Roseland Ballroom. Ab-Soul came out to perform “Terrorist Threats,” Jay Rock was around to spit his verse in “Money Trees”, and lastly Schoolboy Q performed his hit single “Hands On The Wheel.” Q even went on to say that he is tired of performing that track and is ready to show off his new music. Kendrick held his own on stage. He flowed naturally from one song to the next giving the crowd the ultimate concert experience. It also didn’t hurt that he added a light show that included lasers and a great stage production. Overall Kendrick’s performance surpassed my expectations. His delivery, stage presence and discography is unrivaled by any other freshman in the game right now. As Peter Rosenberg said before Kendrick’s set, “He is the greatest young artist doing this hip hop thing right now.” No doubt about that. Watch footage from the early Roseland Ballroom show and Kendrick’s performance on Letterman after the jump. Also check out his debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, if you have been sleeping.
Remember the two types of concerts mentioned in my review of Fitz & The Tantrums’ show? Well I knew going into Bon Iver’s Radio City Music Hall show that it was going to be fantastic, and I was not disappointed. Last night was one of the most memorable musical experiences of my life. Every sound was magical. Justin Vernon was the people’s awkward hero. “Uh… I’d like to, uh, thank you guys for coming. It really… means a lot.” And the music they made was beautiful (just to get a sense of how amazing Bon Iver as a band is, my good friends went to see them the night before YGM went and sent me their setlist; YGM saw a different setlist… That’s the mark of true musicianship). At one point, the band began an explosive on-stage jam, putting any Phish bootleg I’ve ever heard to shame. It’s a huge testament to Justin’s musical prowess that he followed that jam up with a solo performance of “Re: Stacks,” and managed to make his own voice, an electric guitar, and a single spotlight just as explosive. I have to say, though, that the highlight of the night was the encore. Justin asked the audience to sing the phrase “What might have been lost” at the end of the song he was about to play. He told us to make sure we “start softly, then gradually get louder until we’re all f***ing shouting it” before launching into a blissful rendition of “The Wolves (Act I & II).” When it came time for the audience to join in, they were happy to. The song garnered a standing ovation before it had even ended, and when I heard the people on all sides of me yelling Justin’s words with the band, I realized what it meant to truly lose yourself in the music.
Going into this show I expected exactly what Bon Iver at Radio City Music Hall sounded like; a night of amazing music coming from a lone Justin Vernon and his guitar. What I received, however, was the best rock n’ roll show of my life. Justin Vernon turned his beautiful, calming, melodic music into a loud, powerful, and extravagant live performance.You know a band is amazing when the live versions of their songs are completely different, and a thousand times better, than the album versions; Justin Vernon gave us exactly that last night. The ten-piece live group stood in front of Radio City Music Hall on a stage set that looked like mountains. With ten-minute long dual-drum solos and epic guitar solos that brought me back to seeing classic rock shows with my parents as a kid, Bon Iver presented to me what was probably the greatest concert I’ve seen. I have to agree with Jason that the highlight of the night was “The Wolves (Act I & II)”. Seeing Bon Iver get all of Radio City standing and singing in unison was a perfect way to end the night. I would do anything to re-live this night; it was the best musical experience of my life. I remember turning to a speechless Jason in the middle of the performance and saying “This is magical”; that was the only word in my vocabulary at the time that could adequately describe it.
Check out some footage from the performance below (taken from YouTube).
Blood Bank (w/ Extended Jam)
*The Wolves (Act I & II)*
A frequent concertgoer knows that there are two types of concerts: the enjoyable ones and the mind-blowing ones. Usually you can predict which you’re in for when you purchase a ticket. But every once in a while, the former can become the latter. That’s what happened last night.
I arrived at the Paramount in time to catch the last few songs of the first opening act, Lovelife. The lead singer of the band said that they were very, very new to the concert scene, and I was very impressed by how together the band sounded and how comfortably the lead singer interacted with the audience. The second opening act was a guy named Robert DeLong. The first minute of his performance was incredibly bizarre, but every second after that had me beyond excited. He had great lyrics, a great singing voice, he was a proficient instrumentalist, and a good producer too. But the icing on the cake was his ingenuity. DeLong controlled the dub step breakdown of his song with a joystick controller. He would add pitch-bending by waving a WiiMote. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an artist use such original instruments in my life. He was hands down the best opening act I’ve ever witnessed.
Finally, Fitz & The Tantrums arrived onstage. I’d consider myself a casual fan of their music, so I wasn’t sure exactly how much I’d enjoy their show. They started with one of my favorite songs, “Don’t Gotta Work It Out.” From the first song, I realized this was going to be a high energy performance. Then they proceeded to put on one of the most fun shows I’ve ever seen. They were constantly interacting with the audience, telling us how much it meant that we were excited. They encouraged people to dance (I was happy to listen), and even called out audience members for looking bored. They played some new material they’d been working on, and even covered The Raconteur’s “Steady As She Goes.” They closed their main set with the rousing “News 4 U.” Then they came out and did a two-song encore, starting with a floor-shaking cover of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” and ending with a high-energy rendition of their most famous song, “MoneyGrabber.” All in all, this was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen, and I highly recommend checking them out if you have the chance. Check out the live footage below:
“Don’t Gotta Work It Out”
“She’s Out Of My League (NEW SONG!!)”
“Steady As She Goes (Raconteurs Cover)”
Thanks to @cuzimcherokee for the footage
Jay-Z brought out a little special guest towards the end of his set at his new festival in Philly, Made In America. Jay surprised the crowd by bringing out most of the G.O.O.D. Music crew and having them run through multiple popular tracks. The talented group performed “New God Flow”, “Mercy”, Kanye’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”, Sean’s “A$$” and more. The set went for a solid 30 minutes and is most definitely a must watch. Originally when Kanye showed up on stage, the youtube stream got really laggy since almost 100,000 people went over to youtube to catch ‘Ye. Jay-Z successfully curated a festival and delivered a great performance. Next up is Pearl Jam tomorrow. Watch the video of G.O.O.D. Music’s performance below.
On August 5th, I attended one of the best concerts I have ever been to. System of a Down performed at Nikon Jones Beach in Long Island, New York. Everything was perfect that night except for the weather. A storm hit the amphitheater, but that didn’t seem the phase the hardcore System fans. I couldn’t find any flaws in the bands performance. Serj’s voice was on point throughout the night and so was Daron’s (who happens to also be the lead guitarist). It amazes me how four guys can make so much noise.
The Armenian rock band started off their set with”Prison Song” and I was amazed to see how many people in the crowd knew the words to this hard rock track. From Serj’s whispering in the beginning to his fast paced sung verse, the crowd was singing almost every word. The performance sounded almost as good if not better then the bands studio recording. After “Prison Song”, the band went into “Soldier Side” then “B.Y.O.B.” Even during the slower paced single “Soldier Side”, the crowd still seemed alive. The band then performed “Radio/Video” as the crowd sung along to even the melody. I was very impressed by how quick the band was able to switch up the tempo from track to track. Even on tracks like “Radio/Video” where the tempo and melody slow down mid way, the band was able to make the changes look effortless. After “Radio/Video”, SOAD went into “Hypnotize” then one of my personal favorites, “Question!” Serj went from playing the keyboard to the guitar to belting out his vocals throughout the night. All members of the band are equally talented in their own ways. It was beyond great to see them together on stage, but it would have been nice if the venue had sold out. When performing “Forest” Daron played a nice guitar solo as did Shavo. The band went through more tracks off of Toxicity, even the title track and had the crowd intrigued the whole night.
If you ever have the chance to see the band live, I highly recommend it and if you don’t know who they are watch the video of the band live performing at Nikon Jones beach below thanks to NextMosh (not the best quality, but it will suffice).
At a performance in Austin, Texas, Little Dragon brought out Big Boi to perform a new collaboration entitled “Mama Told Me” that will be featured on Big Boi’s upcoming album Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors due out November 13. The Swedish electronic band performed “Mama Told Me” for the first time alongside Big Boi at this vitaminwater & FADER uncapped event. The track features dope verses from the Outkast rap veteran and nice uplifting instrumentals with the inclusion of an electronic keyboard by Little Dragon. Watch the video of the performance below and look out for this single in the future.
Regardless if you love or hate Skrillex, you can not deny that he has done a great job of making dubstep a more known genre. At his show the other night in Las Vegas, Skrillex dropped his upcoming collaboration track with Damian Marley. Marley’s reggae vocals surprisingly go very well with Skrillex’s beat. The drops are sick, even if you aren’t the biggest Dubstep fan definitely give this a listen.
Spotted on FNT
I originally heard about St. Vincent when Consequence of Sound voted “Cruel” one of the best songs of 2011. Check out this video of St. Vincent performing “Cheerleader” live on Conan, off their newest album Strange Mercy.
If you’re into indie music, I highly recommend buying that album; listening to it as we speak.
Last week, one of my favorite upcoming rappers performed live @ the SOB’s for the second time this year. Not only did he kill it, but his performance attracted the likes of A$AP Rocky, Mac Miller, Talib Kweli and more backstage. Who doesn’t want to see the legendary Compton rapper take on the Big Apple. Watch BlowHipHopTV‘s footage of K. Dot performing ‘Hol’ Up’ to a sold out crowd above. Cop Section .80 on iTunes now (one of my favorite albums of the year).
The White Panda performed in Webster Hall in NYC on December 27th. YesGoodMusic was in attendance and so was the rest of my residing town. The Pandas did a great job interacting with the crowd and getting every single person to jump. Although their performance was fun, I must say that Logic (the opener) stole the show. Check out our post about Logic, our interview with him before his performance, and some great footage here. Visionary Music Group is doing big things.