Sound Citizen had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Keith Harris, drummer for the Black Eyed Peas, producer, and collaborator with the likes of John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson and of course, Fergie. We talked about the anticipated release of a new BEP album and upcoming tour and his hometown of Chicago – how it influenced his music and helped shaped his life, both musically and personally. “The whole soul and funk, gospel, blues … man, that’s why us Chicago musicians have something special – it’s built in us to have a lot of soul,” says Harris.
What I found is that Harris is not only an accomplished musician, but one cool cat. He’s never forgotten his roots and talks like you’re having a conversation in your living room. Read the interview at TheLocalTourist.com, and in the meantime, check out a little sampling of his talent below.
(Video and photos after the jump) Metallica has been doing one thing for the past 25 or so years – rocking. And they continued that tradition in Chicago, at Allstate Arena, playing in front of a house packed with dedicated fans. I went to Monday’s show – little did I know that come Tuesday night, I would have a special invitation from a very special person to attend Tuesday as well. More on that later.
Metallica is one of the best metal acts of all time. Their huge talent and soaring popularity also makes their live shows very expensive. If they come near your town but you lack the funds to purchase a ticket you could look intopayday loans on the web.
Metallica opened up with That Was Just Your Life, followed with The End of the Line, the first two tracks off the new album, Death Magnetic. They were good. Then Hetfield remarked that what goes good with the new stuff … is the old stuff. It turned out to be Creeping Death – and the crowd exploded with life, applause, metal hand salutes and singing.
From there the show raced on. Singer and guitarist James Hetfield sounded great and Kirk Hammett continues to prove that he’s more than just a thrasher, he’s an extremely talented musician. This was the first time I’ve seen Rob Trujillo on bass in person, and he was equally impressive – matching the intensity of Hetfield and flashing serious skills.
I had seen Metallica twice before this show, and the same thing happened on Monday that happened twice before. They kicked ass. They are powerful. They deliver metal in a way that’s sharp and melodic but still makes you want to mosh (usually a fleeting thought – I was on the floor, and a few moshes broke out, but I only got punched once and never lost my footing, even as an unwilling participant.) And there’s nothing like a crowd that knows just about every word to every song – as such, Hetfield repeatedly stepped back to let the crowd take over and that’s an awesome sound. And here’s the other thing – they were having fun and it showed. Hetfield gave several mentions of Chicago, and tacked a home-made “Chicago Loves Metallica” flag to an amp. And none of it felt gratuitous – that geeked up the crowd even more.
Speaking of the crowd, it was what you might expect and some of what you might not. There’s the guy with nicotine-stained long blonde hair, wearing all black (including the required beat up black leather jacket) who walks up to you and tells you that he got hit by a train on his way over, possibly because of the fifth of vodka he drank, which he shouldn’t have because of the side effects from his anti-psychotic medication. Then there was the young guys and gals who weren’t yet conceived when Metallica started out, but are old enough to drink. There are the lifetime metal heads who look scary but are just plain nice guys. But what really struck me was the abundance of father-son combos. In short, we’ve grown older, and maybe grown up a bit. And so has the band – drummer Lars Ulrich spewed some water out of his mouth onto the crowd. To which, Hetfield remarked, “That’s rude.” So Ulrich retrieved a towel from his drum kit and handed it to the doused fan. A rock star move, followed up by a paternal reaction.
Some personal highlights for me were Master of Puppets and a new track, The Day That Never Comes. Both are included in some partial video below. Make sure to hover your mouse at bottom right of the player after you hit play, and click “HQ” for a higher quality video.
So, about Tuesday – I ended up getting invited by my girl, via someone mentioned in this article. Come back for Tuesday’s review, more video and photos, and the revealing of the mystery man.
(Video after the jump) Hailing from Las Vegas, it should come as no surprise that The Killers are first-class entertainers. So, standing outside in 12-degree weather, I at least knew I was going to see a good show. I last saw The Killers in Austin, at the 2006 Austin City Limits music festival. They put on a great show, even I wasn’t familiar with their music at the time. This time I’m a fan, so expectations were higher.
UPDATE: The Killers have added a slew of tour dates, in what will be a busy summer. Check out the bottom of this post for the latest dates. If you want to see The Killers live visit BarrysTickets.com for great deals on The Killers concert tickets.
It all starts with the stage and the effects. They opened with “Spaceman” and an explosion of lights. The entire stage, amps – just about everything was covered in small lights. Add a dozen more swirling lights and a huge video screen behind the stage and you’re engulfed in a performance, not just a concert. The video screen was interesting. It would show some effects and the occasional accompanying music video, and it was just grainy enough to be visible but not distracting. But none of it would matter without the powerful presence of lead singer Brandon Flowers (pictured). He emphasizes lyrics, pauses, guitar riffs, beats, you name it, he has body language for it. And he’s all over the stage pacing, sprinting and standing on top of amps – perfect for when you have that six-foot-seven guy standing directly in front of you for every single concert you attend … it’s not just me, right? But I digest … on to the music.
Both in Austin and here, the first thing to strike me about The Killers is how together they sound. It seems like every song is a mini-anthem, thoroughly modern but with a retro 80’s dance feel. It’s all timed and it’s hard to tell if they ever miss a beat.
They played as solid mix of tunes from their new album, Day & Age, including Human (‘I think I’m Dancer,’ said Angie), Neon Tiger and The World We Live In, peppered with some of their most popular songs from previous records. There were few pauses between songs and less conversation with the crowd – fine by me.
The best part of the show came with back-to-back-to-back songs Sam’s Town, Read My Mind and Mr. Brightside. Flowers played Sam’s Town under a white spotlight, sitting and playing piano in a sort of acoustic and subtly plugged-in version of the song. And just when you thought it was time to slow it down, they rolled right into All These Things That I Have Done, with Flowers leading the increasingly loud, chanting crowd to “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier…” They closed out the show to a crowd-pleasing When You Were Young.
The “I wasn’t crazy about that song until I heard it live” award goes to A Dustland Fairytale.
There were two downsides to Tuesday’s show, although minor. First, UIC Pavillion is not the best place to see a show. Sight lines are good, but acoustics are bad.
Second, there were times when it seemed the band was going through the motions a bit. I suppose you can’t blame them – being the crowd-pleasers that they are, they probably play some of their songs so much it’s difficult to not get bored.
Below is some video from the show of Smile Like You Mean It. This was taken in a covert fashion, so apologies for the lack of a good view. And below that is Jenny Was a Friend of Mine – the view is even worse, but it sounds pretty good.
(Via Wired.com, video after the jump) This has been a long time coming. One of the most popular games in the past couple of years is moving from the gaming world to real life. At least, some iteration of it. Disney Star Guitarist takes the Guitar Hero model, then attaches a real guitar so you can not only play a game, but learn how to play guitar at the same time. Of course, this being a Disney product causes a few issues. For starters, the game will come with a cute blue 3/4 guitar with colored strings … but you can use your own guitar. As you’ll see in the video below, “High School Musical” is featured. So, you might not be shredding death metal anytime soon.
That said, if not Disney, there will be an explosion of this technology coming very soon. Drums, bass, fiddle, piano, keytar, triangle … everything. This could very well be the way people learn how to play instruments in the future. It’s also going to end up being a spectacular revenue stream for musicians. Who wouldn’t want to visually learn their favorite song for something like $20, in their own home, rather than pay someone for a private lesson?