Greetings New Music Mix Readers. You may have noticed I took a brief hiatus from my bi-weekly roundups. Well this past month I participated in a show on MTV that will be airing this summer. Check back on AfterElton.com once it airs as I’ll be recapping my experience and filling you all in on the inside gossip.
On February 28th, I had the chance to catch Lady Gaga and Scissor Sisters in Chicago at the United Center on Gaga’s second North American leg of her Monster Ball Tour. I must say that if you have the chance to go see her perform, take it. She is undoubtedly one of the best entertainers of our time.
While this was my second time catching a Lady Gaga performance it was my first Scissor Sisters one. In the last year I’ve become an ever-increasing fan of the sexiness that is Jake Shears and his NYC-based glam-band the Scissor Sisters and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Mr. Shears performs in nothing but black underwear and leather chaps during his entire show.
The group noticeably (and somewhat disappointingly) did not perform their recent (and my personal favorite) hits “Fire With Fire” or “Invisible Light” during the show, instead sticking to older fan favorites like “Filthy Gorgeous,” “Take Your Mama Out,” and “Don’t Feel Like Dancing.” Oddly the one new song they performed (and opened with) was “Any Which Way”… a song I’ve yet to fully embrace. One thing I could embrace though was Jake Shears’ half (sometimes fully) naked body during his performance. The man has a great set of abs and chest and shows them off throughout the show. He definitely knows how to keep a gay man’s attention.
The best part of the night (and I’m kicking myself for not having my camera ready for this part, as it was entirely unexpected) was during the Scissor Sisters’ final song as the show reaches its finale, Jake turns his back to the crowd, drops his chaps to the ground, and reveals his bare ass to everyone. Screaming of course ensues.
As for Gaga, this was my second time attending one of her shows. My first was at her second appearance at Lollapalooza in the summer of 2010 when she headlined the entire festival. Her first Lollapalooza show was in 2007 at a minor side stage when she was a yet-known artist and critics called the performance “a train wreck”. So it was quite exciting to see how far this gal had come and you could tell she relished in the fact that she was now the headlining artist.
It’s really not fair to compare two Lady Gaga shows because they’re all exceptional and light years ahead of what many artists are doing in the form of entertainment these days. But alas because I’ve been to two I can’t help but compare one to the other. Now maybe it was because I was in a crowd of thousands of young energetic concertgoers, or because it was my first time seeing her live, (or probably because my friend got me high right before the show), but I felt like I had an all around better time at her show at Lollapalooza. I felt like that show was as close to a religious experience as anything I could remember for a long time and I honestly think that if Lady Gaga had asked me to come up on stage and ask her to come into my heart that day as my Lord and Savior, I would have probably said “yes.”
Now this go round I found myself sitting in an indoor arena next to moms with their kids and a group of middle aged men with the smallest bladders on the planet that seriously got up to go to the bathroom during EVERY song. And I was sober. My experience was just not the same.
But regardless of whether I’m in a jam packed field surrounded by thousands of exhausted sweaty concert goers in the middle of summer or in a dark arena sitting next to middle aged men with their daughters, I still have an amazing experience at her shows. And boy does that girl know how to put on a show. She does so with so much heart and energy that you can’t help but be impressed and taken in by the whole experience. She changes outfits between each and every song performance allowing the audience to relive her famous televised award-show performances of her various hits. And to top it all off she does so completely with her own vocals, no lip-synching! She deserves all the success she has today.
The best part of a Gaga show is the opening number, a remixed version of her Fame Monster hit “Dance In the Dark” that gets you so pumped you can’t wait for her to appear on stage. During the entire song you can kind of see the artist behind a veiled drape and it appears as though she’s mimicking the act of fingering herself. The raunchiness has only begun. From biting off naked Barbie doll heads to asking the audience to get their “dicks out,” declaring she’s heard Chicago is a city that has really big dicks (I wonder if she says that in every city?), the moments of hilarity and shock are constant and well worth the price of a ticket.
It was extra special to be at Gaga’s show the same day that her video was released for “Born This Way”, which in my opinion, is quite brilliant. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I feel that Gaga’s effort to make such fascinating other-wordly videos far outshines her competition (Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me” was basically a non-stop commercial for PlentyofFish.com and while Ke$ha’s new video for “Blow” had it’s cute parts with a Dawson’s Creek cameo and unicorn wars, there’s just nothing like a Gaga video). Watch my footage of her performance of “Born This Way” here.
I think the biggest takeaway as a gay man from Gaga’s show is how vocal she is about helping the LGBT community. Before her show begins an infommercial plays informing the audience (of primarily straight people I assume) that over 40% of runaway youth are kicked out because of their sexuality and they were born that way. Recently Gaga urged concert-goers at her Buffalo, New York show to contact their senator and urge him to vote for marriage equality in the state of New York. I’m not even sure I’ve heard openly gay artists be as vocal at their own shows about LGBT rights issues as Gaga is. And I wonder where her angle is in all this? I’m glad she’s doing it though because she’s having an enormous impact on people who come to her shows just to dance. (Watch Gaga’s “Just Dance” performance here)
Speaking of which I still have “fame, fame doing it for the fame” stuck in my head and likely will all week. Which is fine by me.
Next Page– Must See Summer Tours!
One of my favorite parts of summer is catching live shows. From festivals to individual tours, plenty of your favorite artists have announced their Spring/Summer Tour dates. Check out a few that I plan on seeing and think you guys should, too!
UK singer and songwriter Ellie Goulding announced that she will tour in support of her stateside debut, Lights out March 8th on Cherrytree/Interscope Records.
Goulding has already conquered her native Britain with her best selling debut album Lights—premiering at No. 1 on the U.K. album chart, with four hit singles and a BRIT award. She’s currently nominated for two 2011 BRIT Awards (for “Best Female Solo Artist” and “British Breakthrough Act”).
The tour will kick off at SXSW in Austin and end in Indio, California at Coachella. She recently stated she’s “really excited to come to America and visit new places and see new countryside.”
Be sure to check her out guys! I am going March 30th in Chicago.
Ellie Goulding’s TOUR DATES:
3/16 Austin, TX SXSW
3/17 Austin, TX SXSW
3/18 Austin, TX SXSW
3/19 Austin, TX SXSW
3/22 Washington,DC Rock And Roll Hotel
3/23 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
3/24 New York, NY Webster Hall
3/25 Philadelphia, PA World Café Live Downstairs
3/27 Toronto, CAN Phoenix theatre
3/30 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall
3/31 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line Music Café
4/2 Boulder, CO Fox Theater
4/3 Salt Lake City, UT Avalon Theatre
4/10 Vancouver, CAN Venue
4/11 Seattle, WA Neumos Crystal Ball Reading Room
4/13 Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge
4/14 San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop (Popscene)
4/16 San Diego, CA Casbah
4/17 Indio, CA COACHELLA
In support of her critically acclaimed sophomore album 21, British chanteuse Adele has announced a North American summer tour. Kicking off in Washington, DC on May 12 and continuing through June 20 in Nashville, TN. Adele’s tour is definitely a must see this summer.
Adele Tour Dates:
May 12 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
May 13 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory
May 15 Boston, MA House of Blues
May 16 Montreal, QC Olympia Theater
May 18 Toronto, ON Kool Haus
May 19 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
May 23 Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Music Theatre
May 24 Chicago, IL Riviera Theater
May 26 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
May 28 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
May 29 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
May 31 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
June 1 Seattle, WA Showbox at the Market
June 3 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom
June 4 San Francisco, CA The Warfield Theatre
June 8 San Diego, CA Humphreys Concerts by the Bay
June 9 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
June 12 Austin, TX Stubbs Waller Creek
June 15 Dallas, TX House of Blues
June 17 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle
June 18 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
June 20 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
Oh Land is without a doubt one of the most talked about new artists for 2011, landing on many critics’ must-listen lists in advance of her highly anticipated new album out March 15th. If you’re not already familiar with this talented singer, check out “Sun of a Gun” and “White Nights.” Catch her on tour with OMD this month.
Oh Land with OMD Tour:
5 Toronto Phoenix Concert Theater
6 Montreal Le National
7 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
8 New York, NY Terminal 5
10 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
11 Pontiac, MI Crofoot Ballroom
12 Chicago, IL Park West
14 Atlanta, GA The Loft
20 Dallas, TX Granada Theater
22 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
23 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
25 Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda Theatre
26 San Francisco, CA Fox Theatre
27 San Diego, CA 4th and B
Florence & the Machine
Florence & the Machine may not have taken home Best New Artist at the Grammy’s this year, but the UK act is gearing up to deliver their biggest U.S. tour to date this summer. Along with a string of opening performances on U2’s tour, Florence will headline her own dates in LA, Chicago, Boston, New York, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Berkely.
All dates are below:
Florence & the Machine 2011 Tour Dates:
06/12 – Berkeley, CA @ Greek Theater
06/13 – Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theater
06/17 – Minneapolis, MN @ Weesner Ampitheater
06/18 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
06/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Festival Pier
06/22 – Baltimore, MD @ M&T Bank Stadium *
06/23 – Boston, MA @ Bank of America Pavilion
06/24 – New York, NY @ Central Park Summerstage
06/26 – East Lansing, MI @ Spartan Stadium *
06/29 – Miami, FL @ Sunlife Stadium *
06/30 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
07/01 – Atlanta, GA @ Fox Theater
07/02 – Nashville, TN @ Vanderbilt Stadium *
* = w/ U2
Next Page– Upcoming Album Releases!
Noah & the Whale– Last Night On Earth
English Indie folk band release their third studio album, which takes a different approach from their 2009 release The First Days of Spring, a somber album that focused on lead singer Charlie Fink’s recent failed relationship with folk singer Laura Marling. This go round, tracks like “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” are indicative of Fink’s new outlook on life.
Miranda Cosgrove– High Maintenance EP
American recording artist and iCarly star Cosgrove releases her second extended play featuring lead single “Dancing Crazy” co-written by Avril Lavigne, a confirmed duet with Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo, and a track, “Face of Love,” oddly compared to the works of Depeche Mode and the XX.
Oh Land – Oh Land
Singer and producer Nanna Øland Fabricius aka Oh Land is releasing her debut album. A disciplined ballet dancer, Oh Land describes a desire to have her music feel like “2050 meets something really classic, like meeting a stranger that feels as familiar as an old friend.” If you’re a fan of Robyn or Bjork odds are you’ll love her. Check her out.
Matt Wertz– Weights & Wings
Nashville-based, Maryland-raised singer/songwriter Matt Wertz releases his sophomore studio album, and first album since departing from Universal Records.
Armin van Buuren– A State of Trance 2011
The number one DJ in the world is releasing his latest edition of A State of Trance; a 2 disc collection of fresh trance essentials sure to fill the global clubs.
The Dodos– No Color
San Fran-based Indie rock band collaborate heavily with siren Neko Case on their fourth album- she appears on nearly half the album. Frontman Meric Long promises “90’s riffs” akin to Smashing Pumpkins’ works, and lists Neil Young and the Ramones as other influences.
Adam Lambert– Glam Nation Live
Adam Lambert will release a CD/DVD package of his best performances during his Glam Nation Tour. The album features bonus tracks including “Ring of Fire,” “Whataya Want From Me” and “If I Had You.” Lambert recently performed an acoustic version of his song “Aftermath” on American Idol. A remixed version has gone on sale on his site AdamOfficial.com and a portion of the proceeds will go towards The Trevor Project, the national helpline for LGBT teen suicide prevention.
The Strokes– Angles
Angles is the fourth studio album by American indie rock band The Strokes, fronted by Julian Casablancas (yes the son of John Casablancas, founder of Elite Model Management). The Strokes have been named one of the most prominent indie bands to emerge in the 21st century and Angles is already being praised as the band’s best album since their debut Is This It.
Chris Brown– F.A.M.E.
Since his memorable Michael Jackson tribute performance at the BET Awards in 2010, Chris Brown is slowly but surely gaining back the fans he lost during his break up with Rihanna. His hit “Deuces” with Tyga reached number one on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Charts for seven weeks, a first for the artist since his 2006 hit “Say Goodbye.” On the singer’s fourth studio album F.A.M.E. (an abbreviation for Fans Are My Everything), the lead single “Yeah 3x” has already peaked at number 15 in the U.S. and producers Benny Benassi and Diplo have signed on to produce several tracks.
Ke$ha– I Am The Dance Commander
On Key Dollar Sign Ha’s first remix album, notable DJs such as Switch, Fred Falke, and Dave Aude take their spin on hits like “We R Who We R,” “TiK Tok,” and “Your Love Is My Drug.” Also on the album is a previously unreleased track “F— Him He’s a DJ,” a song that’s become a hit at her live shows.
Jennifer Hudson– I Remember Me
The 29-year-old entertainer releases her highly anticipated sophomore album, a follow up to her Grammy award winning eponymous 2008 debut. I Remember Me, a name based on a poem written by Hudson and turned into a song by help of OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, also features production from Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Ne-Yo and Salaam Remi. Watch the video for the first single “Where You At,” a track written by R. Kelly.
Next Page– New Singles!
MGMT’s latest album Congratulations was not much of a crowd pleaser and failed to produce radio friendly hits like “Kids” and “Time to Pretend” off their debut Oracular Spectular. But talented London-based Turkish-born DJ Erol Alkan has taken the band’s lead single “Congratulations” and created something way more danceable and fun…. See if you agree?
Number #46 on NME’s 50 Best New Bands of 2010 was Active Child, the brain child of Philadelphia-raised choirboy-turned-indie pop musician Pat Grossi. His debut project features 80s-tinged synths that create an ethereal collection that showcase his exquisite vocals and his track “When Your Love is Safe” is a perfect example of this. Grab a free copy of the original here or the up-beat Classixx remix here.
British electronic composer James Blake, (an artist from our 11 New Artists in ’11), has been reaping rave reviews from his debut self-titled album released February 7, 2011. My personal favorite is one of only a few tracks that actually feature comprehensible vocals: “Wilhelm’s Scream.” Blake’s falsetto is gorgeous and I bet it’ll have you singing “All that I know is I’m fallin, fallin, fallin” all week just like it did for me.
Nadine Coyle has become the second member of British pop girl group Girls Aloud to release a solo project (second to X-Factor judge Cheryl Cole). After a preview of her solo debut album Insatiable, the track “Runnin’” is my personal favorite. It’s very pop and has a similar feel to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Take a listen.
Lykke Li’s sophomore album Wounded Rhymes was released last week and it’s quite excellent, start to finish. My particular favorites are “Get Some” and “I Follow Rivers.” The Magician remix to “I Follow Rivers” has been on repeat for about two weeks. Grab a free, that’s right FREE, copy of the track right here!
Next Page– Hot Videos!
Exciting new British artist Jessie J, (also featured in our 11 New Artists in ’11) recently premiered the video for her hit single “Price Tag.” You may have caught wind of Jessie’s first single “Do It Like a Dude.” The two songs have completely different sounds and showcase the variety that Jessie J brings to the table. Check out the video right here. Jessie J’s debut album Who You Are is set for an April 12th release date in the U.S. and just last week the artist released the new song “Casualty of Love.” To purchase the track go here.
Beth Ditto, the lead singer of the Gossip, has teamed up with Simian Mobile Disco to produce her debut solo effort. A 4 song EP has already been released in the UK and I instantly fell in love with the club hit “Open Heart Surgery.” I mean it’s seriously an eargasm. Please go check it out! Also, check the homage to Madonna in the music video for Ditto’s single “I Wrote The Book.”
Kanye West recently debuted the video for his latest single “All of The Lights” featuring Rihanna and KiD CuDi. I have to say this might be my favorite song from his latest album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Despite the negative attention West has received since his Taylor Swift/VMA upset, the artist has certainly turned lemons into lemonade. West’s album has received the best reviews any rap album has received since OutKast’s Stankonia.
Watch the video HERE.
For those who haven’t already read our earlier post about Cassidy Haley’s excellent new music video for his track “This Time,” then be sure to check out his Fight Club themed video right here. There’s some hot man-on-man action reminiscent of a certain porn company some of you may be familiar with (Naked Kombat).
This has been on repeat for about a week so figured it was worth sharing with you guys. Phantogram are a relatively new indie band based out of NYC and they recently sang their song “Mouthful of Diamonds” on Jimmy Fallon and it deserves to not go unnoticed. Phantogram make very chill yet danceable music. Hope you like.
At eight minutes long the latest video for French singer Yelle’s new single “Safari Disco Club” is a 2-for-1… featuring a transition into the track “Que veux-tu” midway. Yelle will be embarking on a US Tour this Spring/Summer with the French Horn Rebellion. Catch her show dates here.