Archive for August, 2011

Alec "Bottaboom" Bahta's trademark: a solid-colored hoodie

I first heard Alec Bahta, more famously known as Fort Lauderdale’s “Bottaboom,” freestyle this past summer, during my stay at New York’s Columbia University as a student of the High School Program.  Alec, a bunch of other students and I loitered outside of John Jay Hall, listening to a friend of ours, Guy Greenstein, expertly beatbox.   Out of nowhere, Alec jumped in with a stack of fresh rhymes while the rest of us bobbed our heads along with the music.

Several days later, Bahta announced he would be performing at the upcoming talent show under the name “Bottaboom” and he quickly became the most anticipated act on the bill.  Dressed in a red hoodie and skinny black jeans, he marched across the stage and really took control of the crowd.  “I’m not gonna’ start ‘til you get your hands up,” Botta demanded, waving his hands above his head.  My favorite line was probably “hammered like the thunder God,” but according to Botta, no one else understood the Thor reference.

Bottaboom performs at Columbia University in NYC

Lyrics like that as well as thematic focus make this up-and-coming rap star’s music so listenable.  “Don’t Know Me,” the first single off Botta’s Sleep Well, which is expected to drop sometime during Fall 2011, cites the musician’s inspiration: “while I had Lupe and a guy called West.”  In the style of artists such as Kanye (the guy called West) and B.o.B., Bottaboom discusses his earlier years and his path as he matures. In “Don’t Know Me,” which is available for free download, Botta, who often refers to himself in songs as “the Lion King,” also cites Nas, Jay-Z, 2Pac and A Tribe Called West as major influences.  The single certainly sets a high standard for the upcoming mixtape, which is already generating significant hype in Botta’s growing fan-base.

You might see Bottaboom also listed as “botTABOOm,” utilizing the mixed-case style coined by KiD CuDi as well as the many Apple products (iPod, iPhone.)  “There’s not really a preference,” says Botta.  “Bottaboom or boTABOOm is fine.”  Though the case of the letters in his stage name is a seemingly minor detail, Botta’s nonchalant attitude to the variation demonstrates his flexibility, which should appeal to many record producers down the road.

Botta grooves in the studio

Be sure to check out Bottaboom at his Youtube, Facebook and Twitter pages and keep a sharp eye on the horizon for Sleep Well!

My only advice for Bottaboom: keep up the awesome work, man!

Blink 182 at Jones Beach (photo by Eli Kaminsky)

Blink 182’s triumphant opening number, “Feeling This” seemed to catch the band right where they left off in 2003, which is exactly what every fan hoped for since the beginning of the  seemingly interminable hiatus.

“This song is about…” Mark began, introducing “Up All Night,” the lead single off the band’s upcoming album, Neighborhoods, which is expected to hit the shelves on September 27, 2011.

“Sex,” Tom interrupted as Mark stared at him oddly.  “Sex, sex, sex!”

“Um…yeah…okay,” Mark muttered hastily before counting off the song

And boy, did it sound terrific live, as did every song on the setlist.  Blink’s ability to shuffle through their hit-heavy catalog and include not only chart-topping singles such as  the inevitable “All The Small Things,” “What’s My Age Again,” and “First Date,” but also more obscure songs such as “Dumpweed,” the first song off 1999’s Enema of the State and “Man Overboard.”  Playing “Dumpweed,” certainly came as a surprise because the opening guitar riff is rather fast and tricky, and though Delonge missed a note here and there, he did so enthusiastically and warily and the song still sounded great. However, Delonge refused to point out his mistakes unlike Hoppus who pointed out that “on the last song, on the second chorus after the bridge, I should have played a G and not an F…They have the right to know,” he finished.

Blink's epic light show (photo by Eli Kaminsky)

The trio balanced their jam-packed set-list with several other new tunes, whose lyrics seemed to be less concerned with partying and ranting about ex-girlfriends and more focused on capturing emotion and adult issues. The fantastic “Heart’s All Gone,” which leaked onto the internet several days before the tour kicked off, is vaguely reminiscent of early Blink.  “Ghosts on the Dancefloor” also sets a high standard for the other tunes on Neighborhoods, which the poppy “After Midnight” does not quite reach, but certainly is not too far from the target.

Travis Barker is considered one of the most talented modern drummers (from the Honda Civic Tour Facebook Page–I do not own this image)

Nevertheless, nothing could have ruined the mood of the evening, not even the endless downpour, which lasted for most of Blink’s set.   Mark even went so far as to pour water on his head immediately upon noticing the poor weather.  Though this act of sympathy obviously received an enormous standing ovation from the crowd, no one seemed upset about the rain.  In fact, many fans in the covered sections moved to the open areas of the arena to join in the soaked dancing.

One could continue endlessly about the skillful musicianship, which was certainly demonstrated by Travis’ incredible drum solo, the excellent song choice, and the wonderful atmosphere of the show, but no one could truly express how fun it was to see Blink.  It was really nice to see that they have indeed matured but still know how to throw an awesome party and act like angsty, sex obsessed teens. Closing with “Family Reunion,” whose lyrics include only sexual slurs, ended the night on a high note.  Nice job, guys!

Set-List

  1. Feeling This
  2. Up All Night
  3. The Rock Show
  4. What’s My Age Again?
  5. Down
  6. I Miss You
  7. Stay Together for the Kids
  8. Dumpweed
  9. Always
  10. Violence
  11. After Midnight
  12. First Date
  13. Heart’s All Gone
  14. Man Overboard
  15. Ghost on the Dancefloor
  16. All the Small Things
  17. Josie
  18. Travis Barker Drum Solo
  19. Carousel
  20. Dammit
  21. Family Reunion

My Chemical Romance rock Jones Beach (picture by Eli Kaminsky)

“Hello We’re My F**king Chemical Romance,” singer Gerard way shouted at the crowd, sounding extremely excited as he and his band-mates stepped onto the stage of the “Nikon at Jones Beach” theater on August 7, 2011.  The sun had just recently set on the third night of the 2011 Honda Civic Tour, as My Chemical Romance blasted into a classic stadium set filled with chanting, clapping and yelling at the crowd

Though MCR are supposedly co-headlining the tour with Blink 182, they seemed more like a second opening band, and played an equally long set to the “special guest”, The Alkaline Trio.  However, the quartet, consisting of singer Gerard Way, lead guitarist Ray Toro, rhythm guitarist Frank Iero and bassist Mikey Way (accompanied by keyboardist James Dewees and drummer Michael Pedicone), played at least one song off almost all of their records. After the rip-roaring opener, “House of Wolves,” from 2006’s The Black Parade, the band played various hits off their three most recent records including the funky, Depeche Mode inspired “Planetary (GO)” from the newest record, “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” and “Helena (So Long and Goodnight)” from their sophomore release and “Teenagers,” and “Mama” from Black Parade.  The band should be commended for their indescribably powerful closing performance of Black Parade’s “Famous Last Words,” which was fueled by a lengthy jam in the middle of the song.

The Way brothers and Michael Pedicone (from the Honda Civic Tour Facebook Page – I do not own this image)

However, as the band finished the short set and walked off without returning for an encore, the MCR fans in the audience felt the set-list could have been better.  Where was their big hit, “Welcome to the Black Parade?” where was “SING?” and where was “Na Na Na? The band had indeed been playing these chart toppers on their previous tour.  Many fans probably appreciated that the band played the most songs from Black Parade, the band’s most successful album.  Perhaps Gerard Way should have cut down on his desperate attempts to excite the more uninterested members of the crowd.  The less than momentary failure of the PA System did not help the performance either.

Nonetheless, MCR was commendably enthusiastic from the first song, despite the majority of the crowd clearly preferring Blink 182.  A group in a corner section even began to chant “WE WANT BLINK, WE WANT BLINK!”  Nonetheless, Gerard Way continuously complimented the crowd for it’s “great vibes,” claiming “the second night is always better!”  Mikey Way may be one of the most energetic bassists in modern rock music and marched across the stage throughout the show whereas the guitarists, who also sing background vocals, were unable to do so.  However, Iero and Toro, like the Way brothers, still seemed to be enjoying themselves as they smiled during every song and constantly threw their fists in the air. A show is always better when the audience can tell that the band is having fun.

Frank Iero celebrates (from the Honda Civi Tour facebook page I do not own this image)

Though the group displayed a solid, energy-filled performance, their overall set-list left much to be desired.  Like many older groups, My Chemical Romance seem to have leaned away from performing their hits, at least on this tour, which may not be the wisest maneuver for a such a young band.

Set List

  1. House of Wolves
  2. Give ‘Em Hell, Kid
  3. Planetary (GO)
  4. Helena (So Long and Goodnight)
  5. The Kids From Yesterday
  6. Mama
  7. Teenagers
  8. I’m Not Okay (I Promise)
  9. Famous Last Words

Any Thoughts on I’m With You?

Posted: August 24, 2011 in News Updates

I'm With You by the Red Hot Chili Peppers (I do not own this image)

We’ve certainly heard a lot about the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the news recently and now the new album, I’m With You, which will be available everywhere next Tuesday (8/30/11), is available to stream on iTunes.   My first impression of the album after listening all the way through once is that it has a very new vibe, but still sounds like the Chilis.  The album mixes in techno, funk, and the Chilis’ more recent sound.  Definitely check it out and let me know what you think in the comments section or on The Sound Hound’s Facebook page

Footage from the video (screenshot from mtv.com)

Every fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has waited patiently for “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie music video,” the first off the upcoming album I’m With You, for which every fan of rock music should be excited. Click the link to watch the Chili’s rock out to the “Rain Dance Maggie,” on a California roof top. That song has really grown on me since I first heard it and boy, do I wish I could have been one of those people watching from the street. This is definitely a cool video, not one of the Chili’s more creative releases as some of their past videos have been tremendous, but certainly not a disappointment.

I wonder if the people on the street were directed extras or just fans that gathered and got into the music…food for thought…their fist-pumps seem to be in time with the music…

Watch The Throne

Posted: August 15, 2011 in News Updates

I do not own this image

Have you all checked out Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collaborative project, Watch The Throne?

Let me know what you think in the Comments Section!

 

Concerts I Have Attended

Posted: August 15, 2011 in Reviews

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: The Today Show, September 2007

This was a special experience for an 8th grader, experiencing a peak in obsession with the music of Bruce Springsteen.  When Springsteen first announced his massive tour supporting Magic, the first album with the E Street Band since 2002 I felt I simply had to see a show, but since I had never attended a concert before, did not really consider it an option.  One can only imagine how excited I was when my math teacher, also an avid E Street fan mentioned that the band would be performing at The Today Show.  My father and I rose from our beds at 4 AM on the day of the show and reached the venue just in time to receive the last two available tickets for the section closest to the stage.  As we pushed our way towards the front, I heard someone call my name and was quickly greeted by my math and science teachers with whom my father and I spent the whole time.  Springsteen was courteous enough to perform the entire set-list all the way through both during the sound-check and during the actual performance.  I shall never forget when the band played “The Promised Land” twice.  Springsteen remarked, “What can I say? I’m getting old!”

Bruce Springsteen is considered to be one of the greatest rock performers alive (from Wikimedia Commons)

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Madison Square Garden, October 2007

Springsteen set my standards high, as this was the first true concert I had ever attended.  He opened with a powerful rendition of Radio Nowhere and played almost every song I wanted to hear, even fishing through the deepest cuts of 2002’s The Rising.  You simply can’t go wrong when you end with a 10-minute Born to Run jam.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Giants Stadium, August 2008

At this point, I am sure that it is quite obvious that Springsteen is my favorite recording artist.  Unfortunately, this was the last time I saw E Street, but regardless, this show was also fantastic.  Regrettably, the stadium’s acoustics leave much to be desired, but that was unimportant during the band’s closing “Twist and Shout.”  Springsteen was right when he triumphantly shouted “YOU’VE JUST SEEN THE RECORD BREAKING E STREET BAND!”

The Doobie Brothers and Bad Company: Bethel Woods, June 2009

My mother and I attended this concert simply for the purpose of seeing The Doobie Brothers and they could not disappoint less, opening with “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While) and closing with a “China Grove” and “Listen to the Music.”  The Brothers also played “Chateau,” which guitarist and vocalist Patrick Simmons then called “Back to the Chateau,” a track of their most recently released album, World Gone Crazy.  Many people left after the Doobies finished.

At this point, I had only heard Bad Company’s eponymous song, but loved the concert all the same.  Man, can Paul Rodgers sing!  I soon learned that Bad Company played every one of their big hits and went through a period of obsession with the band’s greatest hits album, 10 From 6. 

By the way, I highly recommend checking out Bethel Woods: some really great acts play there, as it is the site of the original Woodstock concert

The Doobie Brothers onstage (uploaded to Flikr by "AlishaV")

Mastodon: The Hammerstein Ballroom, October 2009

My friend, a big fan of death metal music, purchased the tickets for this show, but came down with the flu the day prior.  I took another friend who had never heard of Mastodon and is not in love with the music genre.  By the time Mastodon took the stage after the three opening bands, we were about ready to check out.  The bearded quartet opened with my favorite song off the new album, “Oblivion,” but neglected to play any other songs that I fancied.  Overall, Mastodon did not impress and I did not even stay to see the next band, Deathklok.

Mastodon's Brent Hinds (from Wikimedia Commons)

Wolfmother: Terminal 5, November 2009

Wolfmother had released their second full-length album, Cosmic Egg, with just enough time before this show for me to learn every word to every song on the album.  Right before this show, my love for the Australian band peaked, so the venue’s poor quality and the lousy opening bands did not subtract from my enjoyment of the show, not to mention that I thoroughly enjoyed moshing.

Wolfmother's Andrew Stockdale performing at Terminal 5 (uploaded to Flikr by "poorpaddy")

Muse: Madison Square Garden, March 2010

Trying to properly describe how incredible this show was would be impossible.  This remains to be the best concert I have ever attended.  I shall say no more.

A god at work: Muse's Matthew Bellamy (from Wikimedia Commons)

The Moody Blues: The Welmont Theater, March 2010

I would be lying if I said that the Moodys were ever my favorite band, but then again, I would also be lying if I did not consider them an amazing band.  Although I was the youngest attendee at the concert by a good ten years, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Although Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge are all beyond 60, they can still put on a show as if they are all in their 20s.The music was great, the sound quality was perfect and the band’s backup  musicians were all virtuosos, especially the keyboardist, Alan Hewitt. As an added plus, backup drummer Gordon Marshall, as expected, handed his drum stick to a lovely lady who in turn passed it on to me, which was extremely exciting.  That drum stick now hangs on the wall of my room.  If you have not heard of The Moody Blues, you should definitely check them out as they are one of rock’s most underrated yet influential bands.

The Moody Blues onstage (from Wikimedia Commons)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: The Izod Center, August 2010

With My Morning Jacket, a stellar band opening I was in a good mood when Tom and his boys walked onto the stage.  My mood did not change through the Heartbreakers’ full set-list, which included a thorough display of hits as well as songs off the new, bluesy album, Mojo.

The Heartbreakers take a bow after a stop on the Mojo tour (uploaded to Flikr by "ladybugbkt")

The Allman Brothers: The Beacon Theater, March 2011

The Allmans Bros. are fantastic musicians and that can never be overlooked.  They really shined during their first set, a full run-through of the classic album, Live at Fillmore East.  However, after the band’s return from the short intermission, every song seemed to be a rambling jam.  Although the second set showcased each musician’s unbelievable talent, it bored me somewhat.  Maybe I should not be attending concerts by jam-bands.  My mother, who has followed the Grateful Dead around New York State, will be disappointed.

Greg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band (from Wikimedia Commons)

A Full Review of Blink 182 and My Chemical Romance at Nikon at Jones Beach, August 2011 is on its way!  Stay Tuned!

 

Artwork for "The Adventures of Raindance Maggie" (I do not own this image)

“The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ first release from their upcoming album, I’m With You, which will be available everywhere on August 30th, 2011, shows a new side of one of rock music’s greatest acts.

“Maggie,” which hit iTunes on July 18, 2011 kicks off with a classic Chad Smith drumbeat that is quickly joined by one of Flea’s most tremendous bass-lines yet. The melody takes off with a blaring set of chords from new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. Singer Anthony Kiedis quickly enters the track sounding like a slightly more worn out version of his old, sexual self, declaring, “tick tock I want to rock you like the eighties, cock-blocking isn’t allowed.” As the song reaches the chorus, the strength of the lyrics starts to dip slightly. “Hey now, we’ve got to make it rain somehow,” just doesn’t seem to pack as powerful a punch as some of the Chili Peppers’ older lines.

Although “Maggie” is very recognizably a Chili Peppers song, it certainly sounds different from older releases perhaps because of the evident absence of John Fruisciante. The former Chili Peppers guitarist, who is considered to be one of rock and roll’s best guitarists, recently left the band for the second time. His replacement, Klinghoffer, who accompanied the band on their last tour, still manages to bring a really solid vibe to “Maggie” and certainly appears to be a capable guitarist. However, the guitar is not the main focus of the song as it has been under Frusciante and the band has admitted that unlike their older music, much of I’m With You are not heavily dependant on riffs, which may or may not take away from the songs.

Regardless, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” is a strong track and does not disappoint quite enough for fans to fret about the band’s change in direction. Hearing new music from the Red Hot Chili Peppers is truly refreshing and as Simon Vozick-Levinson of Rolling Stone Magazine aptly wrote, “welcome back, dudes.”

Blink 182 News Update

Posted: August 7, 2011 in News Updates

Blink 182 has revealed the artwork for their upcoming record, Neighborhoods!

(I do not own this image)

On August 5, 2011 Blink 182 kicked off their tour with My Chemical Romance in New Jersey, on which they have been playing songs from Neighborhoods.

A new song from Neighborhoods, “Heart’s All Gone”, leaked onto the internet this past week and it is certainly worth a listen.  I would describe it as reminiscent of Blink’s earlier material off Cheshire Cat and Enema of the State.  I must say that I am excited for this release.