Archive for January, 2012

X-Factor host Simon Cowell starts new DJ show–who will they pick for judges?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

X-Factor / American Idol mastermind and top 40 svengali Simon Cowell has a new project allegedly cooking: a show which will see people competing for a music career. Not as singers, mind you–as DJs.

That’s kind of hard to imagine, especially in the context of a 40-minute live TV show. Most DJs play for upwards of two hours, and with at least a dozen contestants, each DJ would only be able to spin for two minutes a week–not even enough time to play a single song.

It’s safe to say that if anyone can pull it off, Simon can. But who might end up on the judges’ panel with him?

Tiesto, as (arguably) the world’s biggest DJ right now, seems like a sure bet. He’s telegenic, has the name recognition, and has a ton of fans. There are those who aren’t wild about the kind of music he plays, but they’re outweighed by those who are. Likelihood: almost certain.

Steve Aoki is a little more underground, but with success after success on his Dim Mak label, maybe Simon will see a smaller version of himself in this long-haired electro/hard house DJ. Plus, he’s friends with a TON of celebrities. Likelihood: probable.

Deadmau5 went from geek to chic in the past couple years, helped largely by a massive pop single, “Ghosts n Stuff.” He’s moved from minimal/progressive house toward a more mainstream sound, and his tours have sold out increasingly massive venues across the world. He isn’t a “disc jockey” in the strictest sense, though: he mixes his own music live, using a sophisticated computer setup. Plus, how would they fit his giant light-up mouse head in the judge’s area? Likelihood: mmmmaybe.

Daft Punk, legendary French house DJs responsible for hits like “Harder Better Faster Stronger,” “Technologic,” “Around The World,” and “One More Time,” would ensure a massive audience for the show. The trouble is, they’re not exactly suited to reality television: they wear robot helmets all the time and usually don’t speak. Also, they don’t “spin records” when they perform so much as they “remix their own albums from a giant laser pyramid full of synthesizers and computers.” Likelihood: if only.
Who do you think should be tapped to judge this contest? Let us know in the comments section below!

RIP Etta James (1938-2012)

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

At the age of 73, R&B superstar Etta James has passed away, and the world is a little less exciting. Born Jamesetta Hawkins, Ms James received lasting fame with a string of hits including “At Last,” “Dance With Me Henry,” and “I’d Rather Go Blind.” While struggling with drug addiction, she managed to tap into her personal pain to create some of the R&B world’s most memorable performances, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll, Blues, and Grammy halls of fame.

In later years, she was sampled by a host of younger artists ranging from Avicii to Flo Rida.

While Ms James may be gone, her music lives on. We hope you enjoy this performance of “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” from 1962.

New Music: Jay Brannan – “Beautifully”

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Singer-songwriter Jay Brannan (“Soda Shop”) returns with this video for “Beautifullly,” from his second LP. Here, Brannan abandons the whisper-quiet arrangements he began his career with, incorporating a lush array of strings, clavinets, and percussion, as well as a subtle country influence, into his vocal-heavy sound.

The track, like much of Brannan’s work, draws heavily from artists who put out a lot of their best work before he was even born: Dylan, Hall & Oates, Simon & Garfunkel (and here, a touch of Dolly Parton or Porter Wagoner); but as always his main influences remain the softer side of the 90s: Alanis Morissette, Jewel, Liz Phair, and Tori Amos.

We love this song. If you like any of the artists we’ve listed, we think you might love it, too. The video is also very nicely done: complementing Brannan’s unusual choice to sing from the perspective of a woman who’s been stuck in the “friend zone,” we’re able to watch the story play out before our eyes in a tasteful, restrained way which complements the song without being overbearing.

Visit our Jay Brannan page to learn more about the artist, including ticket and touring information.

New Mars Volta album info leaked!

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala are having a busy year. Their original band, At The Drive-In, has returned for a series of wildly popular shows, and now details of their upcoming album as side project The Mars Volta have leaked.

Set to release in 2012, the new Mars Volta album is apparently titled Noctourniquet, a combination of the words “nocturne” (a musical composition inspired by the night) and “tourniquet,” a type of bandage used to control bleeding.

Album art is shown as well (although difficult to see behind the reflection of the person snapping the picture): what looks like a pattern of circles over a gradient at a 45-degree angle which somewhat resembles the Earth’s horizon at sunset.

Expect new tour dates from Omar, Cedric, and company–both as At The Drive-In and as The Mars Volta. Stay tuned for information on dates and tickets!

Prince is an amazing guitarist.

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Okay, maybe that’s not necessarily news to anyone, but we recently saw this four-year-old video of Prince performing “As My Guitar Gently Weeps” with a stage full of rock royalty at a 2008 VH1 Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Listen to that guitar solo. Look at the expressions on his bandmates’ faces. It’s no wonder that Prince, after decades in the business, is still widely regarded as one of the best live acts anyone can see.

Check out our Prince tickets page for more information and tour dates!

iPhone stops the New York Philharmonic midway through Mahler’s 9th

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Imagine being in the very front row of New York’s Avery Fisher Hall. You’re in the center section, near the aisle on the right-hand side. The New York Philharmonic has come to the quiet part of Mahler’s 9th Symphony, right before the final, thunderous section leading up to the end. Suddenly, a shrill bleeping starts. You realize it’s coming from your jacket pocket. It keeps going. Music Director Alan Gilbert, who had been conducting, finally drops his hands, turns around, and stares you down as the orchestra grinds to a halt. Someone shouts, “Thousand-dollar fine!” What would you do?

Avery Fisher Hall

This isn’t a nightmare particular to over-stressed classical music fans–according to classical music blog Thousandfold Echo, it’s what happened at a recent concert. Someone’s iPhone (set to the jaunty “Marimba” ringtone, apparently) went off in the very front row. Worse yet, it kept going. When the conductor stopped the concert, turned around, and stared the offender down, it still kept going. Thousandfold Echo writes:

Gilbert said something like, “Are you finished?” The guy didn’t move a muscle. Gilbert: “Fine. We’ll wait.” And he turned to the podium and lay down his baton.

As the marimba kept on clanging, someone shouted, “Kick him out!” Another echoed. Some started to clap. But then others shushed the hall down, preventing pandemonium from erupting.

Finally, it stopped. Gilbert: “Did you turn it off?” The guy nodded. Gilbert: “It won’t go off again?” Another nod. Gilbert turned to the audience, and said, “Ordinarily in disturbances like these, it’s better not to stop, since stopping is worse than the disturbance. But this was so egregious, that . . .” (I lost his words here), and the audience burst into boisterous applause.

Phew. It’s tempting to blame the iPhone itself for the death of courtesy, but a comment from a reader reveals that this kind of thing has been going on longer than some would care to admit:

It reminds me of a story Leonard Bernstein used to tell about one performance of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps at Tanglewood, when immediately at the conclusion of the first part — which ends in a raucous, frenzied, blaring climax — some lady in the audience commented, mid-conversation with her companion, “I prefer to use lard.” Bernstein claimed that he would always think of that moment in subsequent performances of that work.

What do you think was going through the iPhone owner’s mind? What would you do in a similar circumstance? Is a thousand-dollar fine an appropriate punishment for ruining a performance of Mahler’s 9th? Let us know in the comments below!

Remember, is always able to provide tickets to any classical music event, anywhere, any time–regardless of whether the box office is sold out. Visit our classical music section for more information on tickets to the symphony, or our New York Philharmonic page for more specific information.