Saturday, December 29, 2012

review: Band Updates

I've been very, very lazy.  For some reason, despite more free time than ever due to unemployment, I am more lazy than I was when I was working 50 hours a week. This is a review of the concerts that I went to over the summer and I'm just gonna roll these into one giant review. In this review I'll be covering bands I've previously done reviews about: Foster the People, Young the Giant, and Gotye.

 The oldest concerts that I went to was for Young the Giant. You can find my initial review for them here. I first gave them 3 out of 5 stars which, in my now reformed former opinion of them, was generous. They really didn't deserve that review but that song "My Body" was just so freaking catching - I had to. However, due to my awesome cousin who works on their lighting crew, I was able to see them again when they came back to Portland in April. Not only had a had more of a chance to listen to their album but they also had time to enhance their live performance -which was lacking the first time around. They were better able to engage the audience - and maybe that because they're much more well known now - and they in turn were more reved up. I also got to meet their bassist  Payam Dootzadah, when my cousin took me and a friend backstage. They still have a great sound and even played a song off the new album they're working on. But for me, it mostly took time to get used to the remainder of their album and for them to up their stage presence. Having done that, for their revised rating I give 3.5 out of 5 stars to a more confident Young the Giant.

I saw Foster the People (initial review here!) with my mother at the Edgefield Summer Concert Series in June. Concerts take place on the Edgefield lawn - this huge open space out in Troutdale, Oregon. Edgefield is owned by McMenamins which owns a variety historical venues, hotels, brew pubs and restaurants all around the Portland metro area and extending beyond. Edgefield is actually a vineyard and hotel but they also host summer concerts on the lawn where they served food and alcohol - guaranteeing a fun evening. Concerts are for all ages and typically people throw down a blanket and chill out with the openers and then get up and dance for the headliners. Now, I've always liked the music from Foster the People and the concert didn't change my mind about that. But what it did reveal to me was that front man, Mike Foster, is kinda a dick. Most bands have at least the common courtesy of introducing their other members. Foster did none of that. Not only that but everyone was in grey or black but he wore white... yup - I stand by my assessment... kinda a douche. But they had a great backdrop, excellent energy and an awesome remix as their encore. So I had a great time. I maintain the original 4.5 out of 5 that I gave them for excellent music, stage presence, and overall fun but a douche for a lead singer.

Gotye (first impressions here) was the third concert I went to over the summer and another of the Edgefield Summer Concert Series - although I  did not attend this one with my mom. I still stand by initial assessment that his album is rather mismatched with his singles released from his Making Mirrors album being so vastly different but I do love his album in its entirety. Gotye is also a really cool dude. He introduced his entire band which definitely earns him points in my book. But by far the coolest thing about his concert were the amazing videos. Each one was different and so very interesting and odd. From trains in space to unzipping one's body to find out what's inside. The other really awesome thing was his song "Bronte". Before he started he asked the audience for quiet as it is an intense emotional song. Most of us complied - minus the assholes to our right who were talking about dogs pooping on their yard. Loudly. Throughout the entire song... Needless to say he was pissed off but instead of being an asshole about it he spoke about how going to a concert is like entering into an understood contract - he agrees to play and we agree to be the audience. For the concert to be awesome we need to listen and to respect each other. When that doesn't happen the concert experience fails one or both parties. Way to keep your cool, Gotye. If I could I would give Gotye 6 out of 5 stars for awesome energy, music, being an overall cool person. Kudos.

I highly recommend checking out all three bands!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

review: Sherlock (tv)

I have the theme song stuck in my head as I write this. Just FYI. That's how much I love this series. It's rather addicting despite the fact that there are not a lot of episodes out.

Sherlock is an awesome show on BBC (or more illegal places if you refuse to pay for cable -- like me). It is a crime drama show based on a more contemporary version of Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson. Now, Martin Freeman has been in all sorts of awesome movies and TV shows (The Office, Love Actually, and numerous cameos including Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) and definitely has some chops and although Cumberbatch has only been around for the last 10ish years and had his big break in 2004 by portraying Stephen Hawking in a TV movie and ever since then he's taken off - acting in huge movies and even rumored to have a part in the next J. J. Abrams Star Trek movie and Peter Jackson's new Hobbit trilogy.

Sherlock, if you've never read any of the books or seen any of the movies, is... well, a dick. He's arrogant, brusque to the point of rudeness, doesn't listen to anyone's opinion, is highly controlling and performs experiments on people without their consent or regardless of time of day or anyone's opinion. And this Sherlock is no exception to this rule. And like the other renditions of him out there, somehow his amazing powers of deduction seem to win over most people around him. Well, at least they respect his skills even if they can't stand him on a more personal level.

The series ends up taking very traditional and popular Sherlock Holmes tales, for example: A Study in Pink (well scarlet for the books), The Hound of Baskerville, and A Scandal in Belgravia (based on Scandal in Bohemia), and giving them an excellent modern update.

I have two problems with this series. One, like in the books, you can't solve the mystery before Sherlock explains it to you - there are no clues for you to follow, no facial expressions to catalog, no a-ha! moments. You just have to watch him solve it. And two, there are only three episodes out per season. And only two seasons!!!!! I must have more so step on it, BBC!

I give Sherlock 4.5 out of 5 stars for snarkiness, mystery and humor. You can watch a trailer for it here!