Sunday, 23 November 2014
Parks & Rock.
On a collision course set for Manchester, England, if you where among the 'Hunting Party' for Linkin Park tickets last night then you where in for one hell of a show! Last night the rock kings from Agoura Hills, California showed the city of Northern Soul that real rock music didn't just lie in an Oasis of Brit-Pop bands. The guys rocked their very stadium sound to the core of the Phones 4U Arena. So much so that the reporters of the Manchester Evening News almost rewrote the concert halls name to its former and the one every fan keeps referring to it as. Touring the latest and one of their greatest albums 'The Hunting Party' (which is a perfect mix (or should we say hybrid) of their 'Hybrid Theory' and meteoric 'Meteroa' brilliant beginnings and their 'Minutes To Midnight', 'A Thousand Suns' and 'Living Things' latest lasting legacy) they furthered their legend of this generations greatness. And all their hits and cult classics from their catalog where on setlist note as they rip-roared through some of the biggest and boldest best rock songs of the last decade and a half. It's been a quick 15 years, but the band you've grown up with on their latest reanimated, mash-up rocked the foundations from the mosh-pit to the nose-bleeds, tearing the roof off.
After the John Steinbeck inspired Mice and Men turned the page on support acts, Linkin Park hit it out of there once they came on stage to perfect pyrotechnics and lasers science-fiction would be proud of. The band that goes through issue of politics and angst like they do six-strings and decks had every fan screaming for their towels, picks and drum-sticks. Starting out with the classic conviction of the new favorite 'Guilty All The Same', it was clear Bennington screaming from the chest, had not lost that great growl even after year after year and night after night of gigs and albums. With the victorious vocals of Mike Shinoda rapping in for legend Rakim as well, you just knew this co-lead singer had the bars and sense to go rap for rap, for 16 hours...all whilst handling an axe. After 'Given Up' it was time to give the day one fans what they've wanted to be hearing for years as the band ripped through everybody's ears with their 'Points Of Authority'. And when the fans wanted a hybrid of the bands original theories then they took every hand that was reaching to get on stage 'One Step Closer'. Then rocking through new tracks like 'Rebellion' and classics like 'Papercut' they stood and tore through big record after big record like they where trying to break it all down to the ground of the 'Wastelands' of a 'Castle Of Glass'. But then when they mixed and mashed up 'Leave Out All the Rest / Shadow of the Day / Iridescent', you don't need to worry about anything like journalistic integrity when you should simply state; "s### just got real"!
The fire only rose to the roof when they 'Burned It Down' with some of their newer, bigger numbers. Then Shinoda shone when he collided 'Skin to Bone ', the underrated classic 'Wretches and Kings' and Fort Minor's formidable 'Remember the Name' to a real terrific trilogy. Then with their latest 'Final Masquerade' the band showed they where anything but as fans didn't want this to be the last goodbye. And with the big three of 'Numb', 'Faint' and 'In The End' they show stopped with exactly that as Chester screamed into the microphone, jumped around the stage and threw himself into the crowd with reckless, nostalgia of all our youthful abandon. But that couldn't be it...right? Right?! As the hands of the standing room only, sold out arena came together to clap for an encore boy was it an epic one. 'Lost In The Echo' started it, until the whole band was 'Crawling' under the skin and seat of everyone in the house with new harmonious records that feel they've been in LP melody for years like 'Until It's Gone'. As these nu and rap metal, platinum Grammy winners tore through a terrific, two-hour set it made every wide-eyed aficionado see just how far they and we had come. As they poured and soared through the last let moments of 'Bleed It Out' they showed and proved in this show and tour that they where are and always will be the flesh and blood of modern rock music. Raging against their own machine and a system of a down, Linkin Park have claimed their place through decades of fans growing up from posters on the walls to tattoos on their arms. Forget about inking their reputation. They've just cemented their names in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, Now how about that for an encore? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Hallelujah! Just like the young Michael Jackson sings to the girls in this video, we can rejoice in pure joy and fun again like the good ole days. As Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars go uptown with the funk, real music is back my friends, just like the seventies. All the way from Motown to Uptown Harlem.
'Ooh Wee' Mark Ronson is bringing it back with his new album coming next year, featuring everyone including the legend that is Stevie Wonder. But for now with a Little Stevie we have a new Uptown anthem with 'Uptown Funk' where Ronson and pop prince Bruno Mars take it out of this world as they "give it to ya". Following their collaborations on 'Moonshine', 'Gorilla' and the monster, mega hit 'Locked Out Of Heaven' the pair are on 'call the brigade' fire. So much so that Bruno boasts that he makes "a dragon want to retire". This song can even smoke Smaug. Mars attacks like '96!
Now if you thought the bass, synth and hook catchy throwback single was funkier fun than Chadwick Boseman playing James Brown then wait until you get on up in the video. Set on an uptown New York street of seventies style, Mars and his gang are fresher then the day Westside Story came out. Decked in a pink suit jacket like a Pimp Panther and Elvis walking in front of a stretch, white limo the only thing cooler than this video is the 'Smooth Criminal' footwork as Mars moves and shake writes a cheque whilst his right hand man tips his drink off. Only the new soul star and pop power player can make getting your hair permed in a salon as cool as getting your shoes shined by old men who cant help but sing "hot damn" along to funky number that's catchier then the common cold in flu season. This is the new, New Jack Swing, no diggity, no doubt. The chart topper is back to claim his billboard throne.
Don't believe him? Just watch!
Monday, 10 November 2014
Sonic The Rock God.
Drive down the highways of the Foo Fighters epic career on the rock road all your life and you'll come across many stops 'One By One'. To your left there's 'The Colour And The Shape' and to your right some 'Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace'. All 'In Your Honour' like the self-titled beginning and the "I'll be coming home next year" dedication of 'There Is Nothing Left To Lose'. Just right behind you you'll also see some 'Wasting Light' in the rearview as you rock along with your favourite bands greatest hits. But its hard to believe its been around three years since you made that stop on your trip. As a matter of fact its even harder to comprehend that you've been on this journey for 20 years now. A journey that started in the grunge Nirvana heaven that is Seattle, Washington. Now like a basketball Supersonic, there are some 'Sonic Highways' up ahead as the Foo Fighters arrive at their destination. Album number eight is an eight-track L.P. that road trips across eight locations across the United States as a different song is tuned into and recorded in each city. Making this latest collection a concept project worthy of an eight part HBO series special featuring legends like The Eagles and Dolly Parton.
New York City, Chicago, Illinois, Nashville, Tennessee, Washington D.C., Austin, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana, Los Angeles, California and of course Seattle continues the map of Dave Grohl and his bands lasting legacy. This eight for eight is a wonder. Just like the amazing artwork, bringing together all the locations this soars as high as the cities famous landmarks. Are you ready for the guided tour? The lead single and track produced with Rick Nielson takes us to the Windy City of Chicagoland and its a storm of a forecast first offering. Blowing in like a Dylan hurricane with rip roaring guitars, this classic, emphatic, fighting single of the Foo's type is no pretender. Then on a coach trip to the nations capital they lyrically detail the history of 'The City Beautiful', Washington D.C. with 'The Feat and Famine' from the political power to the poor poverty. Its a real and raw record for a band that are growing road and world weary and wise as Grohl growls, "They took your soul and they took you for fools/Took all the windows from prisons and schools/Now what's a poor man left to do?" Then leaving the home of the great Lincoln Memorial in D.C., the guys head for the Parthenon of similar structure as the next two records see the group looking for the music capital of the United States and the rest of the world. First in Nashville, Tennessee they find a musical 'Congregation' in the 'Music City' that saw Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton take the country music walk of fame. Soon you'll find the likes of Willie Nelson rocking to this one down the bars of 'Music Row'. Singing along to Dave's depth of "I’ve been throwing knives/To see just where they land/Now my world is in your hands" and the illuminating of the dark "The voice upon the stage/Is the heart inside a cage". Then the capital of live music has its say for the double dose of 'What Did I Do/God Is My Witness' as Austin, Texas proves the perfect home for the Foo's to earn their Wild West spurs. In America's real stage for music Grohl's group don't leave it without an epic encore.
Hollywood has to have its say however in a piece of music worthy of a movie. We're not done yet and a stopover in 'Hotel California' is required as Gary Clark Jnr takes them 'Outside' on some Los Angeles times that shine brighter than the boardwalk of Venice Beach in July. This one bowls you over and is worthy of its own walk of fame. Still more cities and their individual and inspiring cultures sing their say and right to be heard as the musical capital of the red white and blue and the trotting globe. How could you even do a record like this without the city of New Orleans, Louisiana of the Preservation Hall Jazz band for that matter? Hitting the French Quarter, taking it all Big Easy and spending and spinning a record like they've never played or we've never heard before, this piece of music parties like Madi Gras. This whole album in fact is like Jon Favreau's 'Chef' food trip across country, making some of the same stops too. Still, sounding good as that all-star affair movie looked, music is the flavour here though. Scintillating the senses, all the way home. Where 'Subterranean' finds them back in Seattle but with no homesick blues as Cobain's right hand man who recently mended things with Love, becomes reflective in retrospect never for a second forgetting where he came from. After checking in there's one more stop to make however as the Foo's head to the worlds most famous city, New York for the flowing 'I Am The River' that continues this journey, like the number eight after this track offering comes to a needle jumping close. Set to illuminate the Knick Mecca of Madison Square Garden like the square a few blocks away this closes a record that is a 'Times Like These' classic. This former college band (yep we're all getting on) continues this nostalgic trip across country, music and their rock and roll, Hall Of Fame career like a starter, main and dessert meal in the Hard Rock. You don't just have to savour however a catalogue collection and band that has become as fondly reminiscent as their Counting Crows and Weezer counterparts who have also released great albums this year. This eight track keeps turning like the long highway to ruin ahead. The Foo Fighters are forever. TIM DAVID HARVEY.