In attendance for her first Atlanta concert since a cancellation at Phillips Arena two years ago were celebrities and pseudo-celebrities of the local variety: Real Housewife Kenya Moore caused a minor cellphone-picture taking ruckus before the show when she and her escort, former Falcons' star Jamal Anderson, took a seat near the front. RHOA affiliate Lawrence was also there wearing a brown derby hat and bright red lipstick. And just before the arena went dark for Rihanna's grand entrance, T.I. obliged requests for cellphone snaps as he took his seat up front.
Then there were the uncelebrities. As much as people decry arena concerts for the lack of intimacy and subpar sound, the people watching at Philips Arena is worth every bit of the exorbitant ticket price. My complimentary seat was $146. Which means I had a pretty decent side view of Robyn Rihanna Fenty in all her bad-ass Barbadian glory - from her hip winding island swag to those thigh-high white boots. But if I had binoculars last night, I would've had them trained on the crowd at least 70 percent of the time.
For the most part, Rihanna's listening demographic is a reflection of her music and her own obsessive sense of style: A lot of young same-sex couples. A lot of creatively dyed frohawks. A lot of virgin-cute high school girls with bad hairweaves traveling in rabid packs. And a few Chris Brown look-alikes with dates in tow. It was pretty much a racially ambiguous crowd with brown overtones. And the age-range went from 15 to young-at-heart. The closest thing to a prerequisite seemed to be tights: tight shorts with big-girl booty meat hanging out the back, tight tights on wafer-thin peg legs, tighter skirts and high-waisted jeans in a constantly parading rainbow of colors.
"I was riding over here in the cab and all I saw was big booties, man. Atlanta's state animal on the back of a coin should just be a big booty, I swear. This next song is dedicated to all my big booty bitches."
British singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Lianne La Havas' U.S./Canadian tour brought her to her first Atlanta performance at the Loft on April 13. This being the second-to-last tour stop, La Havas commented on a bout of homesickness setting in. But after witnessing the crowd's enthusiasm, her ails were quickly remedied. La Havas cracked a laugh or two during her opening song, jokingly with the crowd, "This isn't a happy song." Embracing local vernacular, she invited the crowd to get "turnt up" in true Atlanta fashion. The intimacy was palpable between the crowd and the performer, and was a testament to the excess of personality she brought to the stage. This melding of genuine personality and talent made for a rare scene of superstar presence, while her interaction with the audience felt like hometown familiarity.
April 14, 2013 - The Goddamn Gallows brought their ghoulish, twangy fusion of punk rock and fresh-off-the-rails Americana to Smith's Olde Bar last night for a show that was equal parts honky tonk, hardcore, and circus sideshow. A rowdy crowd pelted the stage with half-full cans of PBR most of the night, and the band didn't hesitate to return fire. Come to find out, a washboard is good for more than just making music and cleaning clothes. It's also a pretty decent line of defense against incoming beer bombs.
"We are the Goddamn Gallows, from nowhere," frontman Mikey Classic said. Originally formed in Michigan, the Gallows have toured relentlessly over the past few years, earning a cultish following for their high-intensity live shows while often living out of their van, squatting in houses, or staying just about anywhere along the way. On stage, the band is as restless as they are in life, constantly switching instruments from song to song, incorporating unique sounds like washboards and spoons, and drawing in the crowd with a series of small skits and other in-your-face antics. Atlanta locals the Vaginas opened the night.
Check out more shenanigans and photos from the show.
After last night's no-show at 529, Masta Killa would be wise to brush up on his Art of War strategies, as he brought shame upon himself in the hearts and minds of all who came out for the show.
But like true Shaolin warriors, a host of locals including 4ize, Marq Spekt, Dug Boogie, and Fort Knox saved the day by holding down the stage till last call. Those who stuck it out to the bitter end were treated to a lightning round from the up-and-coming Young Dirty Bastard (Boy Jones), an ATL local, and heir to the throne of the inimitable Ol' Dirty Bastard, who touched on a handful of his father's numbers ("Shimmy Shimmy Ya"), along with offering glimpses of his latest No Taxation mixtape.
Gucci Mane has already released 60 tracks this year, and he's beefing with Young Jeezy again. On Twitter, he's even invited the Snowman to his party tonight (Wednesday, October 17) at adult club Diamonds of Atlanta, but with the caveat of a $100,000 bet: "I can and will beat Jeezy ass #JUSTTRUTHS."
Then last night, Gucci Mane previewed his new mixtape Trap God, out today at 6 p.m., at Patchwerk Studios off Hemphill Avenue. In the middle of the listening session, Love & Hip-Hop's Momma Dee broke through the crowd and introduced the rapper to her friend, Flavor of Love Season 2 contestant Shay Johnson. Johnston twirled as she ran her hands through her sleek ponytail, then shyly walked away. Gucci smiled, as Trap God blared and seemingly echoed his thoughts — "I'd fuck with that."
If Gucci does indeed plan to release 10 albums in 2013, then Trap God plays out as the culmination of his training before next year's marathon. To crisp snares and stomping synths, he brags a few times of being in the trap in his long johns. He frequently spits out notable stats, such as being worth $10 million with no jewelry on. In "Get Money Nigga," featuring Meek Mill, Gucci Mane acts like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino as he hollers, "Get the fuck out East Atlanta, you know you don't belong here!"
Van Hunt is setting up, and so are Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Some people are camping out waiting for Jett, who won’t go on until 5:15, and a fairly equal number are waiting for Van Hunt, who starts at 4:30.
I already feel a little off-kilter from the lineup — following these two are the King of the South aka Atlanta rapper T.I., the Americana group the Avett Brothers, and the Foo Fighters. It’s just ... confusing. Or as Jeff Clark of the Atlanta music magazine Stomp & Stammer put it earlier over a text message, “This lineup should be considered a hate crime!”
I’m not sure if I’ll like the Foo Fighters. Their popular songs have been played so much on the radio that I don’t even hear them anymore. Each pop melody has been so run down, like a cliché, that I can’t enjoy it anymore. Will the songs resurrect themselves live?
Mary J Blige brought "The Liberation Tour" to Atlanta's Chastain Park on Tuesday night. Opening was soul singer D'Angelo who's back on the road after spending a decade as an R&B recluse since his last album Voodoo (2000).
Before reggae, rock, beatbox artist Matisyahu hit the stage at the Masquerade last night he played a very low-key acoustic set for one lucky gal (and all her friends and family) at a house in ATL’s Grant Park neighborhood.
High school teacher Bernadette O’Neill, 24, won a national competition leading up to the release of Matisyahu’s latest album Spark Seeker that landed the gold-certified recording artist in her living room.
“I just entered a confirmation code that I pre-ordered the album,” O’Neill said. “They drew it at random, and as long as I could meet the qualifications [like having a place for him to play] I won.”
Its not everyday you have an international recording artist pull up on a Harley in front of your house for a personal concert, but for this self-proclaimed “biggest fan” it was yesterday’s reality.
With his five-year-old son in tow, and supported by Dub Trio guitarist Dave Holmes, Matisyahu mingled, signed autographs, posed for family pictures, and took requests for the three-song set.
He kicked things off with “sunshine” at the O’Neill’s request, beatboxed with her little brother, and downed a couple glasses of white wine before roaring across town to hit the stage at the Masquerade.
Check out the full gallery of house show and concert photos.
Last night, Atlanta booty/bass rap legend Kilo Ali headlined the first (hopefully) annual 808 Fest at Connect Lounge on Auburn Avenue. Other acts included Mighty High Coup, the Wheeler Boys, and more — plus shake dancers galore.
See full photo gallery.
About halfway through the industry listening session for 2 Chainz' highly anticipated Def Jam debut Based On a T.R.U. Story, it dawned on the Atlanta rapper that with all the bloggers aiming digital cameras and boom mics at him, his private listening party wouldn't be private for long. So he did what any artist would who, after a year and a half of self-made mixtape buzz and star-turning cameos alongside the likes of Kanye West, Drake, and Nicki Minaj, finally hopes to capitalize come next Tuesday's release date.
He stopped the music.
"I really like that song, too, but I don't want it to be out before the album comes out," he said from the sound stage inside a hot shoulder-to-shoulder crowd at Tree Sounds Studios. "I thought we were just going to chill. [Y'all] in here tryna make money."
It speaks to the stellar year the artist formerly known as Tity Boi has had that the studio located on Peachtree Industrial was packed with tastemakers, writers, photogs, DJs, collaborators, and well-wishers including B.o.B and Killer Mike. Atlanta was there to show love, but also to witness the culmination of what's amounted to an inspiring reinvention on 2 Chainz' part — one that's earned him shout-outs from the likes of Forbes along the way.
After a few formalities — including the presentation of his first gold plaque for "No Lie," his current No. 1 hit with Drake — 2 Chainz got down to business. The first song he played from the album was "Yuck," a track full of chonky beats, featuring Lil Wayne.
"My daughter always says "Yuck, daddy," 2 Chainz said, explaining the title. "Plus, it's so nasty."
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