Friday, May 29, 2009

Simple Minds Graffiti Soul

It's hard for bands like Simple Minds to break away from their one hit that they had it the '80s and it's hard for people like me to get John Bender out of my head and repeatedly sing the "don't don't don't" part of the song.

Sadly, Simple Minds have fallen into the one hit wonders to some due their song "Don't You (Forget about me). I like that song and I'm too a fan of their other hit "Alive and Kicking," but to me, their earlier albums are SO much better. (YES, I SAID IT.... DEAL)
I'm more a fan of songs like "Love Song," which has a Danceteria feel to it and "Chelsea Girl," which has a power pop feel to it.

So when I heard that Simple Minds were coming out with a new album, I was curious to see how it sounded, due to their changes in sound from the late '70s to now.

Graffiti Soul is an album that radios could play comfortably because it's easy listening, but with a little bit of an edge. It's a lot like their albums from the '90s till now, average.

Most of the songs run in the four to five minute range and they could be shorter in my opinion. Yes, I am a fan of songs that are less than two minutes long, but I can tolerate longer songs if I don't get bored with it and it stays inventive. None of these songs did.

I was almost into the third track, "Stars Will Lead the Way," due to it's powerful guitar punch in the beginning, but the song died out very quickly.

I will say that I really enjoyed the guitar on this album. It's very dreary and echoed, which always gains points for me. I also thought that Jim Kerr, lead singer, doesn't sound like he's aged too much either with his smooth voice.

This album seems to be more for hardcore Simple Minds fans. So if you like everything they've made so far, you'd probably love this album.

If you're looking to listen to music where your feet will be enticed and feel like it's 1985, Sorry!

Dave Gahan...Tumor Found

You know something is wrong when bands like Depeche Mode, who do anything for their fans, cancel a show. On May 12th, lead singer, Dave Gahan, was rushed to a hospital due to gastroenteritis, forcing them to cancel their show in Athens.

After fans were freaking out and writing get well soon cards to Gahan due to his hospitalization, it has been revealed that "a low-grade malignant tumour" was found in his bladder according to the band's website.

The tumor has been removed and it was a successful surgery. Their tour starts up again on June 8th, Leizig, Germany.

Depeche Mode has cancelled nine shows in their European tour and eights others have been affected also. The cancelled shows are still be be determined.

"Dave Gahan sincerely thanks his fans for their support, understanding and patience. Depeche Mode deeply regret any problems or inconveniences the cancellations and postponements may have caused."

Doctors' orders are for Gahan to take a break from the tour and I think it's the best thing for him right now.

It'd be insane for Gahan to keep up with the tour now. He gives more than 100 percent every show. Have you seen the way this guy moves live? Check this out!

For now, Dave Gahan... Get well soon and I hope for a healthy recovery!

Check out my review of Depeche Mode's new album, Sounds of the Universe.

photo by Peter
video by

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Damned at the Stone Pony

It’s hard for people like me, who were born a couple decades too late, to actually get to see a band that was around when punk music was at its prime. Some of these punk bands that are still around now consist of just one original member and put on horrible shows and makes me wonder why they still use the original band name. Then there are bands that may have had a few line up changes, but allow fans to go back in time and enjoy a taste of punk rock bliss. The Damned did just that when they played at the Stone Pony yesterday.

The bands that opened up for them were Electric Frankenstein and The BellRays.

Though EF seemed to pump up some people in the crowd, others just stood around. They’re one of those bands that feel the need to turn up their scratchy guitars up way too much, when really; they could use a cleaner crisp sound and some more melodies. There wasn’t even a need for the singer to have a guitar honestly. It’s not that they’re a horrible band, they just sound like a lot of other generic bands that I’ve seen.

The Bellrays on the other hand, really blew me away. If the MC5 had a woman with a huge afro singing, that’s what the Bellrays sound is. Wayne Kramer himself has shared the stage with them in the past. They got the crowd energized with singer, Lisa Kekaula’s shrieks and soulful voice. They were really tight!
The place wasn’t that packed, but once Pinch came out to his drums, more people edged their way up to the front. Captain Sensible (guitar) with his red beret, Monty Oxymoron (keyboards) wearing a skull patterned shirt, Stu West (bassist) wearing his striped shirt, and Dave Vanian (vocals) in a suit, white button down shirt, and a black cravat.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, How do!”

The Damned put on such a great show. From fixing the light fixtures themselves, to the traditional stage banter, to Captain and Monty drum soloing, to Dave dancing with one of EF’s daughters during, “Little Miss Disaster;” it was a very memorable night.

Their set list ranged from early Damned songs like “Love Song,” to their infamous cover of “Alone Again or” (they sang the trumpet solo), to songs like “Dr. Woofenstein,” from their newest album, So, Who’s Paranoid? It’s nice to see a band that doesn’t just play their new album with one or two old songs. Though I wouldn’t mind a few more off the new album, it’s pretty good!

The Damned definitely made sure they hit different songs from the different decades they’ve been around for. Captain Sensible talked about being able to jump from decade to decade with songs and joked about how bands like Green Day couldn’t do that.

My only complaint was that I couldn't hear Monty that well, but it could’ve been because I was on the opposite side right up front by where Captain was.

My face hurts today because I was smiling all night long. I hadn’t seen them since 2002. I love seeing this band live, it gets better and better. I hope they come back soon!

Love Song
Second Time Around
New Rose
Alone Again or
Under the Wheels
There will come a day
Disco Man
Dr. Woofenstein
Perfect Sunday
Neat Neat Neat
Dark Asteroid

Curtain Call
Noise Noise Noise
Little Miss Disaster
Melody Lee
Smash it Up

Bellrays photo by Mosieur J.

Damned Photos by Tim Bugbee

(Check out his awesome photography
here and here)
(photos are actually from the Boston show, but the band wore the same thing)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Alex Chilton and the Box Tops at the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival

This show was amazing! The Box Tops played for a little over an hour and had a lot of people shaking their hips even on a rainy day... With hearing rumors of Alex Chilton being strung out, I thought this show wasn't going to be too great, but he totally washed those rumors away. He sounded great!

They played favorites like "Neon Rainbow" and "The Letter", but they also played other songs like "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry like a Baby."

I was by the speakers for these videos, so the sound is pretty bad on them. Also the show was under a tent, so the image isn't so great either... Sorry!
photos and videos by me: Stina Jimenez