It seems that whatever the Foo Fighters do, they do it really well. Even ALS ice bucket challenge videos. This was seriously awesome. Funny for a good cause. Can’t wait for their new album to come out this year.
OKAY, OKAY, OLKAY … THIS MADE ME “HAPPY”
I was over Pharrell’s “Happy” the 239,478 time I heard in on the radio … but this video made me smile.
SONG OF THE WEEK
With the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, Lauryn Hill posted a demo track she recorded about a year ago. This is music that makes a difference. The fact that she uses the melody of the Sound Of Music’s “My Favorite Things”. This track is genius. You should take a listen. Major props to Lauryn Hill.
Pitchfork magazine published a list of “The 100 Best Albums of the Decade So Far”. It’s not a bad list. Of the 100, I have 24 of the album. The one’s that I was really happy to see on their list were Killer Mike “R.A.P. Music”, Majical Clouz “Impersonator”, Japandroids “Celebration Rock”, The War On Drugs’ “Lost In The Dream”. These albums are so good, I got them all on vinyl.
I love Stevie Wonder (after all, I named my blog after one of his albums). Stevie loves Sting’s song “Fragile”. I love this cover. Hopefully, you do too. It’s stays true to the original arrangement, but anytime Stevie can his own flare to a song, I’ll take it.
Taylor Swift = Legs For Days. And at 5’10”, she’s definitely got some to spare. It’s amazing to watch this talent grow into her skin. Hopefully, she keeps it classy. Follow here on Instagram @TaylorSwift
SWEET FOLKSY GOODNESS
Found this video of the band Miner performing an acoustic version of their song “When I Win You Over” … in a gondola. It’s sweet folksy goodness.
HIP HOP HEADS! MIXTAPE ALERT
Snoop Dogg & The Eastsidaz had been on hiatus for a few years with Tray Dee being incarcerated. Well, he’s out, and Snoop & The Eastsidaz just dropped one of the hardest mix-tapes I’ve heard in a while. I have a feeling these guys will be getting some major label distribution sooner rather than later. Before they stop the downloads, I seriously suggest you do it now. Click on the link below to get redirected to the Datpiff site for the download.
SELFIE OF THE WEEK
This kid got a selfie with Paul McCartney and Warren Buffet, which was subsequently retweet by Paul McCartney. Ugh. I’m so jealous right now … of a kid!!! LOL.
R. Kelly is going to release a house album? Hmm … he’s a musical genius, and I would put it past him that he can pull it off. After all, he did successfully meld musical styles with bands outside his comfort zone for recent festival performances (i.e. Phoenix). I’ll reserve judgement until I heard what’s being offered.
What’s the easiest way to settle a beef between playaz? Cold hard cash. Drake pays Rappin’ 4-Tay $100,000 to make sure that there was no ill-will between the two over Drake’s use of 4-Tay’s lyrics in “Playaz Club”in the YG hit “Who Do You Love”. I don’t care what anybody says. Money makes things better.
Have you ever thought about what you would say or do if you were in a room with one of your childhood idols?
One of my childhood idols was Stevie Wonder. I discovered his music by way of the 1993 cover of “Lately” by Jodeci. When I started doing some research browsing the CD racks at the local library, the first CD I pulled of the rack was “Songs In The Key Of Life”. I must have been too eager to play the music, as I started with disc 2 rather than disc 1, and the first song I heard was “Isn’t She Lovely”. I was hooked.
Since then, I’ve amassed a considerable collection of his music (on CDs and LPs) even spending hours making a detour to an HMV while I was touring Japan with my college singing group to search for albums I hadn’t ever seen before. While the rest of the group members were doing touristy things, I found a copy of Stevie Wonder’s harmonica album “Eivets Rednow” (that’s his name spelled backwards if you couldn’t tell).
Fast forward to the relative present, I had to pick up a paycheck at my bosses’ business manager’s office. I stepped into the elevator, and with the doors closing to take me up, a hand jammed in the middle to open the doors back up. One man walked into the 5ft by 5ft compartment, followed by another man directing an older gentleman wearing a daishiki and sunglasses. That man was Stevie Wonder.
All of a sudden, my stomach turned and my palms got sweaty. My mind started racing, searching for something to say, but as the elevator came to a stop, it’s doors opened and my teenage idol slowly departed the space, with me there silently watching … watching him walk away as the doors closed me in.
Ever since then, I’ve repeatedly thought to myself what I could have said in that space of a few seconds …”I used the lyrics of ‘Send One Your Love’ for my best friend’s wedding toast” … “‘Sugar’ and “Anything You Want Me To Do” are my favorite songs form “Signed, Sealed and Delivered” … “‘Music Of My Mind’ changed my life.” … “I plan on using ‘Ribbon in the Sky’ as a song at my wedding, whenever that happens” … Yeah, I guess you can say that I’ve thought about what I’d say to Stevie the next time I was ever in a room with him.
When I heard that Mr. Wonder would be performing “Songs in the Key of Life” in its entirety for his annual “House Full of Toys” charity concert in Los Angeles, I used my industry connections to ask for orchestra seats that had been announced on Ticketmaster as being “sold out”. Weeks went by, and it wasn’t until the week before the event that I was notified that a pair of tickets would be held at will call for me. I was set, and I could only eagerly count down the days before attending a concert whose music meant so much to me and my life.
When I picked up the tickets at will call, I was surprised to find that with my tickets were VIP passes to the private bar of the venue. I’m not typically a VIP kind of guy, but knowing that the venue was huge (maximum capacity is over 7000), I appreciated not having to wait in line for a beer.
As me and my guest were about to enter the private bar, a security guard halted our progress. I scanned the room and noticed the hallway to the stage door in front of me and …. AN ELEVATOR immediately to my left. My stomach turned and my palms got sweaty. Sound familiar?
As I nervously joked with my guest that, “I bet you Stevie is in the elevator,” the elevator doors opened, seemingly in slow motion … in a way that made it seem like the universe was playing some twisted joke on me … and the man of the evening, Stevie Wonder, stepped out of the elevator with his entourage.
The room was quiet. I was quiet.
My mind racing to retrieve one of the gems I had thought of years before, a woman standing behind me, interrupting my train of thought, yelled, “I love you, Stevie,” and with that my mind yelled out the only thing I could think of…
“I love you too, Stevie” … and with that, he disappeared behind the stage doors.
Epic, EPIC fail. LOL.
My epic fail aside, the concert was everything that I could have hoped for. The list of special guest performers was epic: Greg Phillinganes, Joe, Frederic Yonnet, John Popper, Chick Corea, Eric Benet, Esperanza Spalding, John Mayer, Ledisi, India.Arie, Herbie Hancock … the list goes on. It was a backing band fit for a king, and Stevie ruled the stage. The Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone Magazine wrote terrific reviews of the show, so I’ll spare you my rambling.
While you click those links to read what they had to say, I’ll be over here in my corner practicing what I’ll say the next time Stevie Wonder is in the room.
Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not currently available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos.
“Tuesday Heartbreak” was the B-Side of the vinyl, 7″, 45 RPM single of “You Are The Sunshine of My Life”. It was written and produced by Stevie Wonder and was track number 4 on Stevie’s fifteenth studio album “Talking Book”. Stevie Wonder played all of the instruments on this track, except for the alto saxophone, which was played by David Sanborn, one of the most commercially successful American saxophonists in music history.
On Saturday night (3/23/13), I experienced what may very well have been an out-of-body, musical experience.
I’ve been to a lot of great shows in my lifetime, and each show was memorable in it’s own right. But sometimes, a concert going experience is so complete … a perfect storm of events … that it leaves you overwhelmed while adrenaline is pumping through your body after it is all said and done.
I’d only been following Hiatus Kaiyote for a few weeks, but I had been anxiously anticipating their show at the Del Monte Speakeasy ever since I clicked “accept” to purchase tickets to their show. I had a sense of how stellar their live performance would be as I had perused many of their live performance clips on Youtube, but what I experienced surpassed my imagination.
I had recently been to the venue for a show earlier in the month, so I knew two things: (i) don’t wear layers as the venue gets sweltering warm and (ii) get there early (as in, as close to the time the doors open for the venue) if you want to get the best view. Tickets for the show had sold out, so a friend of mine and I essentially got there when the doors opened, and we staked a spot, up front, stage left.
Following the opening act, the band took the stage and Aaron Byrd introduced them to audience. Really though, the band didn’t need an introduction. Nai Palm approached the microphone stand when she noticed some flowers attached to the stand’s base. “This is jasmine,” she said as she leaned in to smell them. “This is my favorite flower. They just magically appeared,” she said with a giddy smile. And with that the band started into their set.
This band knows how to play live. Each band member’s musicality was, throughout the set, put on full individual display, but they way in which the band plays their music as one, is truly mesmerizing. If you’ve take any kind of music lessons or studied music theory, you know how complex their arrangements are. Standing in my spot, I was amazed by how seamless the band would jump back and forth between chord progressions and rhythms. Music phrasings, though I had heard them on recordings, came to life and jumped around in my ears. And it was all spot on. Paul Bender on bass, Perrin Moss on drums and Simon Mavin on keys, played impeccably, and their training/experience in jazz and soul music was fully realized. And even more than that, you could tell that they were all loving their time on stage. Nai Palm surely recognizes the caliber of musicians that make up the bad. In her humble way throughout the set, she would give each member individual, deserved, props. “Simon Mavin getting magical on the keys,” She said as his fingers intricately maneuvered the keys.
Nai Palm. Oh my lord. She could very well be my new favorite female vocalist. At 23 years old, she seems to have already mastered two instruments: her guitar and her voice. Watching her perform live, up close and personal, I was entranced by the joy in her voice, and the passion with which she played. She truly fed off the audience, even taking a moment to tell the audience that she loved hearing us sing along.
And if that weren’t enough, they Miguel Atwood-Ferguson join in on a couple songs on his viola. Like Hiatus Kaiyote, he played with such intensity and passion, it was a privilege just to be in the same room as him. He’s a tall man, and the ceiling of the venue was low, and watching him play as the sweat dripped from his brow, and as the strings on his bow started fraying, I was nervous for him as I thought his intense playing would cause him to break his bow on the ceiling. Who am I kidding? He’s a master at his craft. Even the setting couldn’t hold him back.
Being that close to the stage, able to watch each musician play with such skill, took me to a concert going place I haven’t been to in a while. It must have been at least a good hour and a half before I turn to my side to check in on my friend to make sure that she was hanging in there. I had gotten lost in the music. I was zoned in on watching the band play. It was truly an out-of-body experience. I was immersed in the music. Immersed in the performance.
Towards the end of the show, Paul Bender gives a shout-out to his brother who had apparently just recently moved to Los Angeles, and who also taught him to play the bass. At that point of the show, I had really lost track of time. Though I was drenched in my own perspiration, and weary from standing in the same spot all night, I was sad that the music had come to an end.
I noticed the set list on the floor that Nai was using, but the guy in front of me asked for it before I had the chance. I saw that Paul had a set list, so I asked him for his, and he passed it on to me. I took a picture of it, but it has somehow mysteriously disappeared …. hmm … I told Nai how much I was impressed with her show, and she gave me a little bud of the jasmine that was on the mic stand. I think I’ll keep that safe for a while.
I went outside to decompress with a cigarette, when Perrin and Simon came up and asked for one as well. Simon was thankful that I had extras to spare, and he mentioned that not only had it been a while, but they were all tired from their recent travel itinerary (they had just flown in from New York that morning). I once again reiterated how much I had enjoyed their performance, and by that time, I went to find my friend to leave for home.
When I got home, I lay in bed for at least 45 minutes watching the snippets of that evening’s performance on my cell phone. I had so much adrenaline in my body from the show that I had just witnessed, that it was hard for me to sleep. Hopefully, this band will be around for a while, and hopefully, they come back to Los Angeles to give me another musical, out-of-body experience.
Below are some video clips I took of the show. Enjoy them the best you can, but honestly, you need to see this band live to truly appreciate what they are about. Hopefully, they’ll be back in Los Angeles to perform in no time.
Note: In the next video you’ll see how happy Nai Palm gets when the audience sings along. Love it.
Note: At the start of the following video Miguel (at about the 8 second mark) takes note of the low ceiling. Great musicians take note of everything in their surroundings.
“Tuesday Heartbreak” was track 4 on Stevie Wonder’s 15th album “Talking Book“. The album’s first track was “You Are the Sunshine of My Life“,which earned Stevie Wonder his first Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. “Talking Book” is a must have for anybody who wants vintage, hit-making Stevie.
“Tuesday Heartbreak” is one of my favorite tracks off of the album. Written by Steve, a notable player on the track is world renowned alto saxophonist David Sanborn. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” was released as a 7 inch vinyl single. On the “B-Side” is “Tuesday Heartbreak”. My copy of this vinyl single is perhaps may favorite Motown collectible. I shot the video using a small digital camera…. it sounds a lot better in person… 😉
Did you know that Stevie Wonder was only 21 when he released his landmark album “Music of My Mind” (his 14th studio album) and that he played all of the instruments on this album except trombone by Art Baron and guitar by Howard “Buzz” Feiten?