Archive: November, 2008
|Photo | Molly Eichel|
The best part about going to see AC/DC is you don't hear the collective audience groan every time the dreaded "This is from our new album!" song intro wheezes out of lead singer Brian Johnson. Hell, you don't even have to listen to their new album to know exactly what you're going to get. I give you a typical AC/DC song: Euphemism, euphemism, euphemism, chorus, euphemism, double entrendre, euphemism, chorus, guitar solo, blatant reference to banging ladies.
So why go? Because you always know they're going to play your favorite song. Or at least, your second and third favorite songs. Because watching thousands of people pump their fists at the same time is awesome. Because, let's be honest, any show where cannons go off during songs, there's a huge blow-up doll in lingerie and the Foxy Lady Cam becomes the Attractive-Middle-Aged-Blonde-Women Cam is always worth the ticket price. Because it's the Brian and Angus show and they are living it up.
(Plus, my college roommate and I talked about going to see AC/DC since we met on the first day of school way-back-when and we finally got tickets. So that's another reason.)
For bordering on rock 'n' roll dinosaur-age, Brian Johnson is jacked. His arms are huge and I'm 89 percent sure he could bench press me. When he sings, he looks like he's sucking on a lemon and he tried a little between song banter but it didn't matter because it's impossible to comprehend anything that comes out of his mouth. But he also worked the catwalk, high fived as many as he could get his hands on and righteously swung from the bell that dropped down from the ceiling during "Hells Bells." Dinosaur? Tyransaurus Rock.
When Angus Young plays guitar, he looks like he's swimming in a sea of pudding and he can't get enough; he constantly moves his mouth, as if he's biting the air around him. He did all of the things I wanted him to do:During "She's got the Jack," he stripped to school boy shorts, giving the crowd a shot of his AC/DC-emblazoned ass. It's weird to think that an entire arena was yelling at a 53-year-old man to take his clothes off. Young, sans shirt, looks like your older uncle. He was always an imposing figure, but then you catch him in weak moment and his true age his revealed. But after you take a second look at Young, you notice it's not his age that makes him look that way. He's always had a scrawny body with a sunken in chest. He looks exactly the same as the devil-horned punk sneering on the cover of Highway to Hell (for the eponymous song, Young rose from below the stage sporting a similar look, horny and all). It was during "Let There be Rock," though, that Young really got to have fun. Rising on a platform at the end of the catwalk, Young flopped on the ground, spun in circles and — performing his classic spasm — rocked the fuck out. But the best part of all was the under-the-stage camera, which captured his Duck Walk from every and all angles.
What to say about the other members? Nothing really. Malcolm Young always looks like a kid excited he gets to play with his cooler bro. Phil Rudd still doesn't feel the need to always hit the downbeat. And Cliff Williams still has nice hair.
But the best part of the entire night and AC/DC in general, is that they all looked like they were having a good time. You get the sense this isn't for the cash (with something like 200 million records sold and three decades of touring, they don't really need it). They look as pleased as pigs in shit to be playing the same set over again and they must go home and thank their lucky stars/whatever Australians pray to that they get to do this whenever they want.
As for the crowd, it was this mix of people you would expect to see at AC/DC and a ton of long-haired kids sitting next to their parents. Every time the lights went down in between songs, the audience twinkled with the light-up devil horns they were hocking at the concession stand. But my all-time favorite guy was the dude on the end of our row who felt the need to take off his shirt so as not to impede his good time.
For those about to rock, we salute you.
Put on your Jnco jeans and strap on your wallet chains, because it’s the late ‘90s all over again – at least on my Xbox, anyway.
Back when the original PlayStation came out, some of the more heavily played games focused on vehicular combat, where you would take charge of a tricked-out ride and blow your other dorm dwellers to smithereens with missiles and machine guns. Maybe it’s just me reminiscing, but I spent I recall spending an inordinate amount of time with the Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8 series instead of studying for my third world history class. Most of that was spent swearing and tossing controllers at my friends who were better than I was, though. Since then, the genre pretty much disappeared.
Developer Activision has brought the Vigilante 8 series back for the Xbox 360 with Vigilante 8: Arcade, available through the Xbox Live Arcade for 800 Microsoft points (about $10). In terms of gameplay, not much has changed since the original was released in 1998, save for the vastly updated graphics. You choose a car – which does have a goofy character associated with it – and ride off into the sunset, annihilating anyone else that gets in your way. You start off with just machine guns and accumulate additional weapons that spawn on the level at regular intervals. You win if you’re the last man/woman standing.
At least that’s the idea. Maybe I’m rusty, but my two biggest complaints about the game are that the controls felt a bit sloppy – just tapping the stick slightly is enough to send you veering off target, sometimes wildly – and that it take a lot of damage, and time, to eliminate other players. The AI seemed a little wonky, too, and each time I played against the computer, it felt like all the other cars were ganging up on me rather than being in the midst of a free-for-all. It took a good five or six matches before I notched my first kill.
Vigilante 8 does support online play through Xbox Live, but be forewarned that it can take a while to get a full game going. The online population for the game is a bit sparse, but if you can get a match going – with up to eight people - it’s great fun.
One of the best things Vigilante 8 has going for it is the nostalgia factor. It still supports the ‘70s theme – though there’s something weird about blowing up cars to disco music, but I guess it makes sense when the other car is a dune buggy – the game is known for and overall doesn’t feel all that different from previous iterations. But I’m going to guess that if you missed the first go-round with games like this you’re not likely to have as much fun with this one.
Listen up everybody if you wanna take a chance.
Just get on the floor and do the New Kids dance.
It felt like 1990 all over again. For a period of about five years, I tortured my brothers (their word, not mine) with New Kids songs, shows, paraphernalia. I was just about the biggest New Kids on the Block fan you could find. I had every CD, the obligatory posters, dolls, pins, pillowcases. If it had anything remotely to do with the New Kids, I had it. I staked out the airport and local hotels when they were in town. My parents and aunt took me to concerts all over the eastern seaboard. I even convinced my parents to take a family vacation to Boston so that I could attend a New Kids concert at Foxboro Stadium. While my mom and I attended the concert, my dad and brothers went to see Problem Child 2. Two hours of their lives they will never get back. I still hear about that one. I loved all the New Kids: Jonathan, Donnie, Danny, Joey and Jordan.
Jordan was my favorite.
When I got word that I would be able to see the recent New Kids concert, I was a bit apprehensive that it would be a let-down, or would taint my perfect teenage memories of the group. And I have to admit that it was a little difficult at first to get someone to go with me. Just when it looked like my husband, Lou, was going to have to be my plus one, he took matters into his own hands and begged my friend, Maria, to go with me. After she got done laughing for two days straight, she agreed to go. Maria was never a New Kids fan. Bon Jovi was more her thing in 1990. Maria and I joked the whole way to the concert wondering what the night would be like. We now had husbands, jobs, kids and mortgages. We were a long way from study hall, pep rallies and prom dates.
Maria and I were pleasantly surprised with what we found that night. … We had a good time. A really good time. When the lights went down signaling the start of the concert, I found myself on my feet waving and squealing like a teenager. I never sat down again (and I am four months pregnant). They opened with "Single," from their new album The Block. They did a nice job mixing new songs with old favorites, slow songs and fast ones. There were wardrobe changes, set changes, solos and even breakdancing by Danny Wood. They also did their signature synchronized dancing, which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
The Wachovia Center was near capacity and the fans really got into it. Grown women brought handmade signs, wore retro t-shirts, pins and hats. Most women came in groups or with a friend. There were parents that came with their grown children. Some women brought their kids; others their husbands and boyfriends. Donnie Wahlberg even commented that he probably saw more men at the concert in Philly than any other city. (I told Lou, that men would be there!) There was a lot more beer served at this concert than the ones I remember. I was years away from the legal drinking age the last time I attended a New Kids concert. Of course being pregnant, I did not imbibe at this concert either. Maria, however, got a taste that night. A drunk girl behind us spilled her entire beer onto my friend's head. She was drenched.
The show was a little over two hours and after a stage exit, the boys came back and performed "Summertime" from their new album and a radio hit and then ended with "Hangin' Tough." No other song would have done the finale justice.
On the ride home, we joked about what a great time we had and that we would definitely see another show again. We just hope we don't have to wait another 18 years. For now, I just torture my husband and one year old with New Kids songs.
The crowd was restless after waiting in line two hours on a chilly night outside the Troc. Only the first 200 people would be admitted. Doors were supposed to open at 11. They didn't. It wasn't until quarter to midnight that the cold, bristled mass shuffled into the upstairs balcony. Finally, DJ Scratch plunked his laptop down next to his turntables. With the drop of a few simple beats, the speakers summoned a collective experience:
"Thank you, everybody. To — to Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin, and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation, with profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States."
The audience erupted in a flurry of screams and tears as Q-Tip burst on stage, wearing a military jacket and dropping rhymes about John McCain. He ripped off his coat to reveal an Obama T-shirt.
In a short but potent set, he ran through Tribe Called Quest and solo classics — "Verses from the Abstract," "Nigga, Nigga," "Vivrant Thing," "Award Tour." Tip's last album, Amplified, came out 9 years ago — before 9/11, before Iraq, before George W. No wonder he's been gone so long. Thankfully, he's finally come out of hibernation with The Renaissance, which dropped on Election Day. Hope.
You sunk my Scrabbleship
Don't let the fancy name fool you, it's Battleship on the computer. Have fun and happy Veteran's Day. I'll warn you that it's a little buggy, so it might be a good idea to refresh in between games.
Go play here.
|Von Iva = hotter than the Frog brothers?|
|Kee Photography | myspace.com/voniva|
Every Monday, the Showdown tells you who to see and where to see ‘em.
Monday: "Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire." Nothing's more entertaining than a vampire classic from the 1980s, right? Well, 1987, to be exact. Shell out $3 and watch Lost Boys at the Troc. Doors at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday: All-girl trio Von Iva plan on churching out up-tempo dance anthems, including songs from their recent Girls On Film EP. Put on your dancing shoes and swing by The M Room. With MC Digga, DJ CB34 and the Lopez. Doors are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8.
Wednesday: California boys Hellogoodbye are having a pre-performance BBQ. Both vegan and meaty friendly, the bash (as long as it doesn't get tootoo frigid) should be tasty. Grab a burger and some chips then stick around for the show. At First Unitarian Church with Ace Enders & a million different people and Never Shout Never. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.
Thursday: Folky rock sextet and former Iron and Wine collaborators Calexico play the TLA. With the Acorn. Doors are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16.
Friday: It's Philly guy Wes "Diplo" Pentz's birthday today, so he's celebrating at the end of the week with a showcase at Starlight Ballroom. Rumor has it'll be a raucous extravaganza with tight jams and Level 5 glam (aka free pizza). With DJ Blaqstarr, Abe Vigoda, Telepathe and Boy 8 Bit. Doors are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.
Saturday/Sunday: Kings of Leon embark on a two-night performance at the Electric Factory. Of Course, both nights are sold out. Hopefully you’re one of the lucky ones to catch their set. Of course, there's always The Craig. With We are Scientists & the Whigs. Doors are at 7 p.m. Tickets were $36-39.
The Hold Steady lead singer Craig Finn didn't talk much during his band's opening slot on Saturday's Rock Means Well tour. He admitted that most of his intra-song banter consisted of baseball talk, but with the Phillies being world champions and all, there wasn't much to discuss. Instead, he talked about his hiatus from music following the dissolution of his arty, yet unpretentious, Lifter Puller. But 2002 Drive-by Truckers show reminded him that, hey, this rockin' out thing looked like fun. If there was one thing both the Hold Steady and Drive-by Truckers got across, it was that they are having the time of their lives.
Finn has gotten his shit together since the last time I caught the Hold Steady, a couple years back. He looks better, he sounds better and his stamina is through the roof. Hardly stopping to take a breather, the Hold Steady blazed through their set. But it wasn't Finn's new, better shape that made him a better performer. Instead, it was his excellent use of the all-important hand clap:
Holding it down with three guitarists and a badass chick bassist, the Drive-by Truckers fulfilled the "Holy shit, I bet this is sick live" promise of their albums. "Where the Devil Won't Stay," from 2004's The Dirty South, was a swirling guitar attack, with each six slinger proving their individual mettle. Singer and guitarist Mike Cooley praciticed a number of rock star poses, all the while a cig dangling out his mouth. Patterson Hood, who also pulls double duty, led the crowd in a barnstorming "Hell No, I Ain't Happy," off of 2003's Decoration Day.
But the highlight of the night came with the two bands' encore duet, packing the stage with musicians who all seemed to get a huge kick out of the fact they get to do this every night and get paid. Rather than filling the stage with sound, the two bands fed off each other, ending with Neil Young's "Rocking in the Free World." Unlike Young's dumpster baby, everyone at the Electric Factory got to feel cool.
Click the jump for DBT cell pics from Marc Steel.
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