(Photo by Kwaku Alston)
Every year, we get excited about the Grammys and the Oscars in the weeks before they're held, and then complain about them the night afterward. But out of the two, I think the Grammys have it tougher. When it comes to film, people love their niches -- art flicks, action movies, teen comedies, whatever -- but manage to agree on a few great movies. Unfortunately, music is hobbled by generational, cultural and even racial divides. Worse, each group claims to have the best musical taste, and has little tolerance for anything else.
It's rare when everyone agrees an album is good, which seemingly happened with Amy Winehouse's Back to Black last year. An indicator of its vast appeal was the wide range of media that gossiped about her well-chronicled drug problems: websites and blogs, tabloid glossies such as Us Weekly, music magazines such as Rolling Stone, and even mainstream publications such as the New York Times. Black and white, young and old audiences bought Back to Black, and everyone took interest in her musical and personal life.
That's why Winehouse dominated the 50th annual Grammy Awards last night. She won five out of the six awards she was nominated for and nearly swept the major categories, picking up Record of the Year and Song of the Year for her "Rehab" single and Best New Artist.
Winehouse's sole loss came in the Album of the Year category. Although many observers were surprised when Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters beat Winehouse's Back to Black and Kanye West's Graduation, it wasn't out of the ordinary. When it comes to the Album of the Year, the Recording Academy, which hands out the awards, tends to opt for two choices: a multiplatinum hit that draws a diverse audience or a late-period work from a legacy artist. Hancock's win was something akin to a lifetime achievement award for a jazz legend. (My colleague Andisheh Nouraee calls this the "Steely Dan award." Steely Dan's Everything Must Go famously beat out West's The College Dropout at the 2004 Grammys.)
REAPPEARING ACT: David Lee Roth (left) works his mojo at the Van Halen show Sunday, Feb. 10, at Philips Arena.
(All photos by Perry Julien. See more below the jump.)
A few conclusions from Sunday nightâs Van Halen concert at Philips Arena:
The band performed to a sold-out crowd in Atlanta, opening with âYou Really Got Meâ and closing with its best-known song, âJump.â My seat was about 10 rows from the stage, and nobody sat down from the opening notes until the final song. The crowd was primarily baby boomers, many of whom brought their kids to see one of the definitive bands of a bygone era.
David Lee Roth sported a six-pack of abs, and wore an open shirt to show them off. And Eddie Van Halen -- still skinny after all these years -- stayed shirtless for the entire show. The two former adversaries seemed to revel in being on the same stage again. Roth was often pure camp with his top hats and the exaggerated grin of a Vegas showman, but he was in fine voice and it was a charge to see the original band (plus Wolfgang) back together again.
One of the highlights came when the other band members left the stage and Eddie Van Halen performed a long solo that led into âEruption.â But two-thirds of the way through, the P.A. system went out. Van Halen gamely played on, then stopped as the crowd began to applaud and chant, âEddie! Eddie! Eddie!â
For those of you who like to talk big junk while you watch the Grammy Awards, tune in here â yes, here â at 8 p.m. on Sunday night.
That's right, we're going hi-tech, holmes.
Music writer Mosi Reeves and I will be live blogging about the show â which is chock full of Atlanta-based nominees â while it's in full swing.
If Soulja Boy doesn't win Best Rap Song for "Crank That," I'm going on a writer's strike.
One of the highlights of my time spent in New Orleans as the A&E editor for the alternative newspaper Gambit Weekly was getting a few hours to spend with Grammy-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard, who among other things is noted for being the composer for director Spike Lee's films. The year was 2001, and Gambit's Big Easy Entertainment Awards had selected Blanchard as its Entertainer of the Year.
It was a helluva year for the former Jazz Messenger, who won three awards in Down Beat magazine's end-of-the year poll (Best Album, Best Artist and Best Trumpeter), which is pretty impressive considering the firepower that comes from fellow New Orleans trumpeters Wynton Marsalis and Nicholas Payton. He'd also scored a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo (on Wandering Moon's "I Thought About You"). He'd also spent the previous year working on a whopping seven film scores and was preparing to release his sublime Jimmy McHugh tribute album, Let's Get Lost, featuring collaborations with (among others) Diana Krall and Cassandra Wilson. In fact, the thing that impressed me most about Blanchard was how well he worked with others, whether it was on Spike Lee with his movies, guest vocalists on his albums, or bandmates in concert.
Blanchard is in town tonight to perform in the touring version of the Monterey Jazz Festival, which also includes saxophonist James Moody, performing at the Woodruff Arts Center's Atlanta Symphony Hall. Tickets range from $30-$50. Here's that 2001 interview, which provides insight into a creative process that keeps Blanchard busy working on multiple projects.
Here's one of a bazillion clips from him in concert. I love the last comment: "He sings through his trumpet!" Yup.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/ajcv-1HlqlM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Take a close look. Standing up in the top center of the photo is Caleb Gauge, the impresario behind Sloppy Seconds. Kelly B., his former business partner, is sitting to Caleb's left. To his right is Ian Ford, another former business partner who now throws cool events such as the Art of Partying. However, the blond girl sitting in the center below Caleb has nothing to do with Sloppy Seconds.
Her name is Roxy Cottontail. She's not from Atlanta, but New York. She's the subject of countless articles in your favorite tastemaker glossies, and currently graces the cover of URB magazine. The last time Roxy appeared here was at a Sloppy Seconds party in late 2006, and she absolutely killed it on the decks. She also promotes a lot of cool parties, has her own fashion line and even writes her own songs. Although I think her songs are kinda wack (sorry, gotta be honest), they add to her mystique as an arbiter of style.
(photo courtesy Indie Outlaw)
In this week's issue of CL, I wrote a story about Livewire Recordings, home to ATL bands such as Warm in the Wake and (formerly) Morning State. I first got a tip that Livewire was going under last December. After talking to several people and managing to get label co-owner Colin Cobb on the phone for a few minutes, it's clear that the label suffered from serious money problems. Cobb claims that Livewire is only going on hiatus, but it is unclear if he will ever re-launch it.
Meanwhile, Morning State has been vocal about its frustration with Livewire. As the article explains, Morning State was one of two bands that was unable to get its album out before the label went on hiatus. (The other was Lake Charles, La., band Tuesday's Debut.) However, manager/publicist Ian Wheeler sent me an e-mail today clarifying that Morning State is not "homeless." The group plans to issue its debut album in April on Indie Outlaw, a boutique label set up by Wheeler.
Morning State's "You Know People, I Know People" is slated for a late-April release on indie outlaw. The album was re-recorded over the past 10 days in Athens with Asa Leffer and features guest performances by members of Hope foragoldensummer, Dark Meat, and Gnarls Barkley collaborators. The band and myself feel that this new version of the album is 1 million times better than the previous take. The band will be playing multiple shows at SXSW this year, including the official indie outlaw showcase. They will also be touring with De Novo Dahl at the end of the month.
After a disastrous and bloody CD-release party last month, Attractive Eighties Women is getting a do-over. This Saturday, Feb. 9, at Criminal Records, the group behind such favorites as "Murder Kroger" and "They Shoot Hipsters, Don't They" will convene for a free concert. Free beer and hot dogs will be provided, but free beer bottles will not. After all, a "Master Cylinder" of cold Pabst brew isn't a metaphor for a glass. If you are unfamiliar with Attractive Eighties Women's specialness, check out my profile in CL's Jan. 9 issue.
Editor's note: If you haven't read self-proclaimed Mayor of Ponce J. Winter's latest Nightcrawler columns, click here and here. And check out one of his older columns below. Even without photos, we think you'll get the picture.
Fri., Jan. 11
It's 6:30 p.m. and the text reads, "Louis goes on at 7:45." It's from Butch Walker. I'd better hustle if we're going to make it to Buckhead.
"I'll be upstairs," his next text reads. Funny, because it conjures up an image of him waiting for my arrival above his Ruby Red Studios with candles and suggestive music playing. He buzzes me in, and thankfully, it's just Butch. No candles or Keith Sweat. As a matter of fact, there's not much of anything.
Butch is back in town taking care of a few things after the Malibu beach house he was renting from Flea burned to the ground along with ALL his possessions. His Midtown pad is empty except for a couch, a baby grand, and now, a mayor.
We hop in his rental and bounce to Buckhead. It's a fairly anticipated show at the Roxy with San Diego's Louis XIV, Canadians Hot Hot Heat, and Britian's Editors. It's like the U.N. of corporate rock.
Backstage we head up an extremely tight spiral staircase into a tree house of sorts that overlooks the stage. Paul, the Hot Hot Heat drummer, is looking out a window into the crowd and notices someone, "It's that dude! He's at every one of our shows."
I already know before I look. Sure enough, front and center, it's former Creative Loafing cover boy and current Atlanta mystery Kenny Crucial. I explain to Paul that it's an honor to have him at your show, and the only reason Kenny is so weird is because he's Canadian. Awkward silence.
Louis XIV absolutely kills its set. Onstage, lead singer Jase Hill is drinking wine of out of the bottle. You can't take your eyes off him. He's half wizard, half Jim Morrison.
Free backstage Budweiser is great, but we need drinks. The front bar is definitely "Cougarville," and rock star Butch isn't the only one getting recognized. A cute little blonde whom I've seen around starts chatting me up. Butch buys us a handful of drinks and we set up shop to watch his boys Hot Hot Heat. Aside from having to follow Louis XIV, the sound isn't right and Steve Bay's disheveled vocal pattern is definitely an acquired taste.
Plus, he kind of reminds me of Sideshow Bob.
Nashville has more dive bars than ATL now that sucks. tbh i think that new…
*Christ, Lord sorry
"Punk" style like this seems like it is the polar opposite of punk. Bradford Cox…
They're kind of starting to look like a joke of themselves. Song's good though.
All 80s movies want you...
Their show with Chris, Lord about 3 years at the Unicorn was the best.