The L.A. Times has a review of Nicki Minaj’s L.A. show that criticizes the singer for having too many personas, which I think misses the point. What Nicki Minaj is is too many personas. Nicki Minaj is a bunch of unrealized, scattershot ideas. Nicki Minaj is a schizophrenic 12-year-old with tourettes who’s drank three mochas and has been handed a mic. Because of this—this barrage of short, quick information blasts one experiences while listening to the 29-year-old’s music—Nicki Minaj mirrors the 21st century and its nonstop information overload. It’s a genius, prescient presentation, that happens to fill the important role in teenage pop music of driving older people crazy.
Nicki Minaj is also Katy Perry for the fuckups, evinced by the crowd at the Paramount Theater in Oakland on Thursday night for Minaj’s first-ever headlining tour. In every direction: neon wigs, tight dresses, high heels, high hems, low necklines, lace tutus and gratuitous cleavage, but, like, with intentionally messed-up makeup, or ripped fishnets, or tattoo sleeves. One could easily people-watch in the lobby and feel like the $100 tickets were already money well spent.
Phil Lesh’s new venue Terrapin Crossroads has been the buzz of San Rafael since its grand opening last month. Below, click the image to view a slideshow of photos from his guest appearance with Yonder Mountain String Band on Aug. 4, 2012.
Photos by Jamie Soja.
Question! Third Eye Blind sang a) “Barely Breathing,” b) that “It’s 2am I Must Be Lonely” song, c) “Steal My Sunshine” or d) that one that goes “Doot-Doot-DOOT! Doot-Doo-DOOT!-Doo, Doot-Doot-DOOT! Doot-doo-DOOT!-Doo.” If you don’t know the answer, don’t worry! It’s easy to find out by walking down to the Sonoma County Fair, standing outside the fence of the Chris Beck Arena and listening as the quasi-funky drums, plaintive acoustic guitars and impassioned harmonies of one of 1997′s biggest bands blast from the stage, rebound off the rodeo grandstand and dissipate, unlistenably, into the sky over Brookwood Avenue.
Because “the Chris Beck concerts are restricted from press,” they tell me (oh really?), this happens to be my only option. Last year, for Huey Lewis & the News, this wasn’t such a bad thing, and I was still able to find some insight for a review while standing outside the gates. But I suspect that Third Eye Blind’s genius merits a closer analysis that can only be ascertained by witnessing the band visually, because on the other side of the barbed-wire fence it was hard to understand what the half-full grandstand was cheering for.
Chris Votek got in touch recently, which was a nice surprise. I hadn’t talked to him in about seven years—after writing a cover story on Chris and his guerrilla chamber group Triste Sin Richard, he moved away from Sonoma County to develop his massive talent at Cal Arts.
In the package was a CD, though, by Tes Elations. Comprised of two cellos (Chris is one), a guitarist, a drummer and a singer, the band is less Arvo Pärt and more like something you’d stumble across at an outdoor music festival—but you’d be hypnotized, and you’d stop walking on your way to get a beer, and you’d raptly drink in the whole set. Get an idea of their delicate haunt here.
Tes Elations play Saturday night at the Arlene Francis Center with Girls in Suede—another throwback to 2005—and Kinship, which is the name with which Nick Wolch, for some reason, has decided to rechristen his long-running Goodriddler project. All these people sprung from a very tight-knit scene in Santa Rosa, which exploded to various parts around the state and reconvenes, in a reunion of sorts, at the show on Saturday night.
Below, watch the video for Tes Elations “Autumn”:
The Higher Vision Festival hit the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on June 9, 2012, with Burning Spear, Tinariwen, the Motet, Gaudi and more.
Click the image below for a full photo slideshow.
Photos by Jamie Soja.
“Take nothing seriously on the internet” is advice I find myself doling out with more frequency. Presidential elections, on the other hand, bring out such earnestness in people:
First question: Did he talk about “it“? No.
Second question: Were Tyler the Creator and Hodgy Beats in the house? Yes. Third question: Channel Orange is amazing, but could he pull it off live? Oh, man, a million times yes.
Frank Ocean’s brilliant show tonight at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco capped a wild week for Ocean; he spent it making public his love for another man, delivering late-night TV’s finest performance of the year, self-leaking his own album a week early and watching the plate tectonics of culture shift beneath his feet. To say the show was anticipated would be like saying the Super Bowl is a sporting event of some note. (When we arrived at 8pm, the line was two and a half blocks long. No one was selling any tickets, but desperate fans sure were asking, with offers of up to $150.)
Unless California sinks into the ocean, the Outside Lands Festival is returning to Golden Gate Park from Aug. 10-12 with a hell of a lineup—particularly in the headliner department, which includes Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Skrillex, Jack White, the Foo Fighters, and… oh, man, the list just goes on and on. Sigur Ros, Justice, Norah Jones, Passion Pit… heck, even Big Boi is returning to make good on his failed attempt to perform in 2011.
Is it time to get pumped? Of course it is. That’s why the Pulse crew has put together this mega-epic 65-song playlist, with songs from 65 different bands playing at Outside Lands. Click play, and let your Friday glide right by.
“They’re kind of a late night, hard liquor, rowdy music, rap music kind of place, if you look at their lineup in Sebastopol.”
—Wait a minute. Rowdy music and rap music? Good heavens! Anywhoo, Hopmonk Tavern is opening another location in the former Southern Pacific Smokehouse spot in Novato, and a neighboring brewpub owner seems to think it might not go so well. (He’s not so hot on low-income housing or the SMART train, either.)
Reunion tours are out of hand, yes, but that’s a longer rumination for a longer day. Let us simply enjoy this story of Harley Flanagan, founding bassist for seminal New York hardcore band the Cro-Mags, who last night—apparently because the band was playing at Webster Hall without him—bit and stabbed the current members. The Age of Quarrel, indeed.