The 51st Annual Grammys…RockAngel’s Rundown

12 02 2009

I’m not one for awards shows, but there is one I watch year after year… the Grammys….and not so much to see who wins, and definitely not to see what they wear (I’m not really that type of girl), but mostly because they have some great, and sometimes unexpected performances.  They pretty much have access to any and every musician that is alive (and sometimes they manage to resurrect their music when they’re not) which makes for a pretty stellar lineup.  Not to mention, they don’t skimp on the production.

(Videos for most of the performances are here)

8pm…Grammy’s start…U2 comes out and rocks their new song “Get On Your Boots”, which I love, but think that somehow has been overplayed already (too much Sirius Alt Nation for me?).  Nonetheless…it is U2, and they come out rocking.  They are always one for a great performance, but honestly, I didn’t think they really sounded that great…and thank you, but I don’t need all the words to your song on the screen.  I felt like I was going to be quizzed.

So here comes Whitney Houston…man, she was lookin’ great!  Unfortunately, she’s either killed too many brain cells to sound coherent, or she had a few too much of something intoxicating that night, because something was just not right with that woman.  However, seeing Jennifer Hudson take away the award for best female R&B vocalist, was very touching.  She was so grateful, and those are the kind of people you just feel that really deserve it.

Then here comes JT…mmmm, so delicious…but peforming with Al Green?  Of course he killed it, and they sounded great…but I’m not gonna lie, he did seem a little out of his element, and kinda old and cheesy.

When Jennifer Hudson came back out to perform, she nailed it.  Her voice was impeccable and the sense of pride and accomplishment radiated in every note.

Everyone on the alt stations is giving Coldplay a hard time for having Jay-Z come out and drop a verse in the middle of Chris Martin’s solo, but honestly, Jay-Z is the man, and in my eyes, he can do no wrong.  I thought the pairing was hot.  And then of course, the rest of Coldplay came out and they sounded amazing as always…much better than U2 actually.  But what’s up with the British Army home-ec coats?  I can’t decide if that was cool, or just cheesy, but they definitely made a statement (just not sure what it was yet).

Unfortunately, the Grammys span all genres, even ones you might not like…such as country.  But being from VA, I still have a little bit of Kuuuntree left in me…and even if you don’t, Carrie Underwood is hot, so you could mute it and still be entertained.  Did I mention I have a new girl crush?  Not only did she nail it, she rocked it while she did it and had one seriously bad-ass chick rockin’ the guitar along side of her.  I think this performance of “Last Name” could even make a fan out of those damn yankees.  😉

Time for song of the year….who were my favorites?  Hmmm…well, “Sex on Fire” was definitely up there, but wait, they weren’t even nominated?  Oh, of course Coldplay got it…not that I didn’t love the other songs, but I’m finding it hard to believe that “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz even stood a chance.  Is anyone aware that “Love song” was written for the record industry (and about them)?  Oh wait, that’s who’s voting…now it all makes sense.  I would vote for what I was trying to sell too.

Next is Kid Rock.  I respect his talent (he plays all of his instruments), but I still just wish he’d go away.  “Summertime” is catchy and all, but my life would probably not be affected if the song didn’t exist.

So here come teen queens Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift.  I respect Taylor Swift…but I have to say her music sounds like the poetry I wrote about boys when I was in a young teenager…oh wait, that’s who buys her music, got it.  Taylor still sounded amazing and Miley didn’t sound so bad either, for Miley, but what was up with the random duded hanging out below their stage playing insruments?  They looked like they were their little pawns or something.

Woohoo!  Stevie Wonder was up next…that guy has so many classic songs, I thought for sure this was gonna be one of my favorite performances of the night.  Unfortunately, the epitome of all that is wrong with teeny bopper music came out…the Jonas Brothers.  Sometimes I think they were put on this earth to make me miserable.  I’m not gonna lie, they didn’t sound that bad…but they are just so f’n awkward!! I won’t call them by name (mostly because I don’t know them, and would be ashamed if I did), but what was up with that one guys hair?  Is he stuck in the 80s?  Was he even born in the 80s?  And this thing they call “dancing”, makes me feel very uncomfortable.  They are known for preaching celibacy, and it’s very evident if you watch the way they move up on stage.  You guys have no idea how to turn girls on…that are over the age of 13.  I wanted to cry….why Stevie?  Why?!!!

So then comes the news of the night…Blink 182 is reuniting!!! Woohooo!  The world will be whole again!!!  Or, um, I could care less.  I don’t dislike them, but I can’t say that I’m a huge Blink fan.  They are actually one of the only bands who I didn’t think was very good live. So…yeah, awesome.  New Blink music.  I’m sure it will be catchy.

Again Kings of Leon was passed up for an award….sad…

Now comes a performance I was really looking forward to….my much announced girl crush Katy Perry.  They had quite the production set up for her, and then she comes down in a big banana…why?  Who cares, it was awesome…along with all of the other sparkly fruit on her costume and the stage.  She is such a character and so different…I love it.  She looked like she was having the time of her life on her flat shoes (heels are overrated) and her superhot backup dancers.  This was one of my favorite acts of the night for sure.

So back to 80’s hair…did anyone see Kanye West?  Good thing he had Estelle with him, who was radiant and sounded amazing.  Although, they could have picked up Satellite signals from Mars in their silver getup.  The song sounded great though, and that’s what it’s all about…amazing music.

Adele took home best new artist and seemed happy, so that was good….blah blah blah…here comes the all star hip-hop hop lineup of the year…M.I.A., Jay Z, TI, Li’l Wayne, and Kanye West.  I knew this was something to remember when M.I.A. hit the stage with her polka dot getup  covering her big ol’ prego belly…and she killed it!  I’m not a Lil Wayne fan, but I’m not gonna lie, he sounded just as good as the other artists on stage that I love, so he gets my respect (for that night at least).  This wasn’t the annoying rap act when there’s too many guys on stage singing over each other. This was a lineup of some of the best talent in the genre, doin’ what they do best…droppin’ verses.  They mean what they say when they say that nobody else has a  “Swagga like us”.

Kate Beckinsale is hot…I don’t know why she’s presenting.  But she’s hot.

If I was an old white guy, I’d want to be Paul McCartney.  That guy still seem so young, it’s hard to believe that was who my parents rocked out to.  He came out on stage with Dave Grohl rockin’ the drums and brought “I saw her standing there” back to life.  For random pairings of the night…this one takes the cake.

John Mayer makes me want poke my eye out with a spoon. But he’s a good artist.  I just wish he’s stick with the guitar so I don’t have to hear his sappy music.

So…more country…here comes Sugarland.  This chick sounds amazing.  I like country, it’s in my blood, so I’m going with it.  Transition to:  Adele. She really does have an incredible voice and writes some great songs.  I think her stage presence could use a little work though.  She kinda just stands there emotionless.  This was very evident when Jennifer Nettles (singer from Sugarland) came out on stage and also nailed Adele’s song, but did it with a lot more passion.

I’m sure if you’re still reading this, your favorite performance of the night was the next one.  I know I didn’t give In Rainbows much credit (still can’t listen to the whole album), but I will never doubt the genius that is Radiohead or Thom Yorke.  The full marching band really brought “15 Step” to a whole new level.  This performance was brilliant, there’s not much more you can really say about that…another one of my top acts of the night.

Bringin’ it back to the hip-hop side…here comes JT and TI….awesome.  I heart JT and all of his musical deliciousness (and physical deliciousness).  I didn’t really know “Dead and Gone” before they performed it, but…Wow.  JT was workin’ that piano and T.I. dropped some very emotional lyrics that remind me why I love him so much (and why his album is way better than Lil Wayne’s).

Ne-Yo and Jamie fox take the stage to perform a tribute to the Four Tops, and if most of them were still alive, I think they’d be proud.  I couldn’t pick Ne-Yo out of a crowd, or tell you what he sings, but they did their job well.  And speaking of bringin’ it back to the old school.  Neil Diamond took the stage next, and we all know he’s a classic.  The stage was lined with all kinds of great guitar players and they had a nice little jam sesh, right on stage.  Awesome?  Yes, very.

So I hate to say it, but I did gain a lot of respect for Li’l Wayne at the Grammys.  He came out with Robin Thicke (which was a great pairing by the way) with a tribute to New Orleans and I was actually really feelin’ it.  Maybe I will go actually listen to his album…maybe…

Of course the pairing of the night in the eyes of the industry was Robert Plant and Allison Krauss.  They cleaned up on the awards, and their duet sounded good.  Is the rest of the album really that amazing?  Guess I’ll have to check it out, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It was nice to see Stevie wrap up the evening solo, but it was a little uneventful.  I was hoping for an explosion of pop culture icons blowing up the stage…or maybe not, after all, this is the Grammys, not the Superbowl of 2006 (we all know what happened there).

Overall, I was very content with the level of entertainment I got, but I still think the industry needs a little shaking up…although Kings of Leon did win for “Sex on Fire” as the best rock song by a duo or group, I would have liked to see them clean up…oh, and maybe perform??  And where was Santogold?  No awards?  No performances?  I guess there are a lot of bands I would have liked to see perform (TV on the Radio), but I guess the Grammy’s take some time to catch on to what the rest of us already know is good music.

Sorry I couldn’t steal any pictures from the show…they are all protected 😦  But you can go here, AOL has some good ones


Endoxi – New Blood Old Soul

10 02 2009


Campfire music that really rocks…Endoxi’s first EP New Blood, Old Soul is exactly what it says it is.  They bring life to music with a timeless energy that sounds like everything and nothing you’ve ever heard before.  They capture the sense of nostalgia, much like O.A.R. does, but with more of a west coast style.  It’s evident that they don’t just throw words together to fit their music, but instead, craft them in such a way as to bring out the emotion that’s already so present in every note.  If you took the music out of the equation, these are lyrics that could stand alone and still tell a story of love, hurt and a lot of self-discovery.

I always say that it’s not where you are, but who you’re with that really matters (ok, so Dave Matthews said it too), and if you were with those people that really matter, just laughing, having a few beers, and throwin’ some burgers on the BBQ, this is the music you’d want to listen to.  On another note, if you see them live, you really get a sense of the ability they have to bring up the intensity of the music and really rock out (and if you’re someone who get’s into drummers…this one is pretty f’n amazing).

You’ve gotta give the sax a lot of credit for distinguishing their sound, but that’s just the icing on the cake.  These are 4 very talented musicians that all bring something to the table, and the band just wouldn’t be the same without any of them.  This is one of those CDs that keeps finding itself back into the rotation, even though I listened to it a ridiculous amount of times after seeing them peform an accoustic act at 710 Beach Club.  So why only 4 thongs? Although the music leaves a delcious aftertaste, the EP is only 5 songs…and it only makes you hungry for more.

O.A.R. at House of Blues…a little taste of East Coast style in San Diego

10 02 2009

If you know me, you know I get pretty excited to see any kind of live music.  But last night I was more excited than Ryan Seacrest at a Pride parade..that’s because I finally got to see one of the defining bands of my college years- O.A.R. People who live on the East Coast just won’t understand, because they roll through those towns a few times a year, but it is rare that O.A.R. makes in into southern California, and more specifically, San Diego, EVER.  Believe me, I watch the live music lineups that come through, and it’s been quite awhile.  Needless to say, seeing their name on the House of Blues lineup made me so excited I couldn’t contain myself.  I’ve been listening to their Live from Madison Square Garden album in a pretty consistent rotation in the last few months…and I don’t listen to live albums really, but this is an exception.  You can’t help but to smile and feel a sense of nostalgia listening to the live energy…or maybe it’s just my east coast roots, either way, it beats the hell out of any of their studio albums.

So on to the show…

He was jammin!

He was jammin'!

Getting downtown on a Wednesday by 7 was not the easiest task, but I knew Eric Hutchinson was opening, and we all know how much I adore his music.  Somehow, by the grace of the music gods, we got there just in time, and as he sang his first words, I felt immediately justified in my urgency to be there on time.  He sang with as much soul live as I’ve heard on his album and the band was sharp.  You could tell he just loved what he was doing since he was so into it, and that feeling translated into the audience.  Most people weren’t familiar with his music, but once he started going, he had the whole crowd clapping and singing along.  When he broke into “You Don’t have to Belive Me”, I was the happiest girl in the world.  Everyone started dancing, a few of us were singing along, and everyone was having a great time.  I could have left after and been satisfied, but much to my delight…

Eric told the crowd he’d be back by the merch table if anyone wanted to come meet him.  Of course we went back there, and were about 15 people back from the front.  Luckily for us, he decided to make us the front of the line, so we ended up being the first to meet him. He was very polite, super laid back, and extremely grateful for every compliment we paid him…which of course included me telling him he’s really got something special and he’s gonna blow up…and that I’ve been rocking his CD for months and it was one of my favorite of the year.  Maybe I sounded like a 13-year old girl at a New Kids concert, but I thought he should know that there are some fans out there who came to see him as well as OAR.  I think I maintained myself ok though, and then we got our pictures, got a ticket signed, and let him meet the rest of the girls who also adore musicians (even ones they don’t know).

Eric Hutchinson...they dont grow guys like this in SD

Eric Hutchinson...they don't grow guys like this in SD

Now for the main event…

O.A.R. takes the stage, and the crowd gets superamped.  Can’t quite remember the first song, but I know that “This Town” was one of the first ones, and you could just feel the positive energy in the air.  It’s one of those songs that just makes you feel at home.  For a crowd full of East-Coasters (like myself), it was some of the most laid back people I’ve seen.  I’ve always said that being at a live show is one of the only times when I feel like I’m truly living in the moment.  Every note, every beat, and every word that came out of Marc’s mouth floated through the evening and filled the room with a sense of nostalgia, and in a way, a sense of life…how it’s supposed to be lived.

Marc and the band...doin what they do best

Marc and the band...doin' what they do best

As the night went on, O.A.R. mixed it up with some of the oldies but goodies like “Hey Girl” to which the crowd sang along to every word, but also some of their new stuff like “Livin’ in the End”, which seemed to be surprisingly popular given that it’s a newer song (guess everyone else probably loved the live CD too).  O.A.R. will always be best remembered for their old jam-style music, but when you see them perform their new stuff, you can’t even hold “Shattered” against them.  Sure, it’s sell-out-radio-friendly music, but it still has a way of creeping in to that place where you stop hearing music, and start feeling it.  I don’t think there was a single song that you didn’t see at least 75% of the crowd singing along to. Unfortunately, during Shattered, their voice comes through a little more than the band’s, but here’s a vid if you’re interested:

O.A.R. continued to make their way through the night, slowing it down a bit, and then rockin’ again.  They of course do the “we’re done for the night” fakeout…which no one bought, because we were all very aware that they haven’t played possibly the most popular song from colllege campuses about 5 years ago…”Crazy Game of Poker”.  So of course they came back out, and performed about a 15 minute rendition of it and totally jammed like the O.A.R. we all know and love.  If this doesn’t remind you of every house party you went to in college…then you never went to one on the east coast, that’s for sure.

Here are the rest of the pics from the show…

…keep rockin’…

“Get on your Boots”…U2 gives us a preview of their new album due out in March

2 02 2009

There’s no denying that U2 is one of the biggest bands in the world…and they’re up to some new music making for 2009. By now, they pretty much can poop out a hot single. They’ve been putting out hit songs for so long that Billboard may as well just reserve a spot in the top 40 for their new single “Get on your Boots”.

So what’s my take on the new single? (you can listen here) After first listen, it’s catchy as hell, after the third listen, I’m still liking it (who listens to songs 3 times in a row? Um, yeah, that’s me). Just when you think you’re bored, they switch it up, and then bring back in the crunchy guitars and switch it back. I can definitely rock out to this one for awhile.

Since it’s U2, and it’s such a big time in politics right now, you’d think it would be a song that’s making a politically charged statement right? Wrong. This is the song we all need right now…a fun little jam that doesn’t make you think too much.  Check it out. What are your thoughts?