By Alison Sikes NYU
Utah. A state known for its outdoor activities and scenic views, not for flash and bright colors. Alternative band Neon Trees hopes to electrify their home stateâ€™s reputation.Â Â Self-described as post-pop punk, Neon Treesâ€™ sound is infectious, entertaining, and dance-worthy.Â Â Lead singer Tyler Glenn accredits bands like Passion Pit and The Big Pink as well as French DJs to their enthralling music. These influences are apparent in their first single â€œAnimal.â€ The catchy song is a solid debut about comparing the start of a relationship toâ€¦well, to an animal. The upcoming video for â€œAnimalâ€ also takes from an interesting source of influenceâ€”Batman. As a teenager, Glenn loved superheroes like X-Men and of course, The Dark Knight. The band drew from their love of the Tim-Burton-directed Batman and paid homage to the Joker scene in which he and his cronies wreak havoc in an art gallery. Whether inspired by caped-crusaders or by electronic tastemakers, prepare for Neon Treesâ€™ forthcoming album, Habits, to be filled with seductive vocals and hard-edged tracks about the habits of a relationship. Be sure to give Habits a listen when it is released on March 23!
On Your Side is the newest album out by the alternative group calledÂ A Rocket to the Moon. This band is quite talented and are able to write some Â ”stuck in your head” Â lyrics that complement their upbeat melodies. Â From the first listen, I felt engaged in these catchy melodies that assured me that life would be good – no matter what. Â Many of the songs might sound similar to their first released single,Â Mr. Right, however it’s no mystery to see why fans loveÂ Mr. Right. It’s catchy melody is compelling and I think most people will truly relate to these songs. Most of the songs center around the universal subject of love, an obvious crowd-pleaser, however, every song has a specific message that never feels overdone or trite – either musically or emotionally.
I especially enjoyed the songÂ Annabelle, a moving song that Â confirms the feeling Â that this is a band of ‘real guys’Â - not superficial guys searching solely for good looks or a good time. Â The song portrays a rather sincere guy hoping to find a genuine girl. Â A Rocket to the Moon’s personality seems on display and resonates throughout their CD. Â The lyrics – lyrics which are jointly written by the band – reflect thought and emotion. Â In each song, I was drawn into and believed lead singer and guitarist Nick Santino’s emotion while he pours out his heart. I was impressed by his passion revealed by each of his heart-felt lyrics.
A Rocket to the Moon produces their own, very unique sound, which is not something many bands these days can claim. They are definitely not a band that has to rely on sound effects or gimmicks. Â Instead, ARTTM puts forth genuine talent, hard work, honest lyrics, enjoyable melodies – all backed up with deeply- felt passion. And, to add to the enjoyment of this new release, after having had the real pleasure of experiencing their live show in Chicago at the House of Blues, I can vouch for the fact that A Rocket to the Moon is aÂ band that backs up their record with a beautifully performed and rocked-out live show. Â I would highly suggest you give their new release a listen and by all means, catch them live if you can.
CONCERT REVIEW FOR A ROCKET TO THE MOON, MAYDAY PARADE, AND WE THE KINGS at the House of Blues, Chicago Feb.07 – by: Becca Kang
A Rocket to the Moon, an alternative band, wedged right in the middle of the concert lineup, delivered a great time of hype and rocking out at the House of Blues Chicago. Simply phenomenal, with catchy lyrics and beats, the entire crowd at theHouse of Blues was filled with smiling faces and dancing feet. Lead singer, Nick Santino wore a genuine smile upon his face as he sung his heart out and as his entire band never failed to rock out with the grateful crowd. Fans enjoyed the happiness that emanated from the music, tapping their feet, clapping their hands and roaring their approval . I couldn’t help but smile constantly. A Rocket to the Moon delivered the kind of show that gives any unfamiliar audience members a reason to go home and search ARTTM songs on the web and really give the songs a listen. They are obviously â€œthe band to know.â€
Next up, Mayday Parade stuck true to its rock out persona and had the entire house off their feet from the first note. The energy was incredible as Mayday Parade blasted song after song with barely a break in between. There was a continuous flow of rocking. Bassist Jeremy Lenzo and electric guitarist Brooks Betts continuously criss-crossed the stage, punctuated by leaping up onto their equipment to play wildly to the crowd. Lead singer, Alex Garcia, sung beyond the point of exhaustion. Even when it seemed as though he could not go another note longer, he shouted out his melodies and kept the eveningâ€™s energy sky-high. Exhaustion was just not an option; no one wanted to stop the party. Jumping and rocking out to Mayday Parade was incredibly exhausting — but of course, that’s what we spend our good money for!
Finally, Floridaâ€™s We the Kings blasted onstage and was obviously a real crowd favorite. Almost immediately, the crowd escalated excitedly from moshing to crowd surfing. Travis Clark, lead singer, made sure to connect and bond with the audience by telling stories about the songs before belting into them. He had the audience singing and vibrating with every song, especially the old favorites. The band delivered a great show for the audience from start to finish.
At one point, Clark told the story of the “gang sign” of We the Kings which conveyed a personal connection to everyone in the crowd. It was as if We the Kings’ personality was evident on stage in every move — which makes for a more interesting and compelling experience. Feeling like â€œold friendsâ€, we fans felt more in tune with the vibe of the band as they continued to rock out feverishly with us. Even the soulful, slower-tempo songs were sung with great emotion. Travis sings with complete honesty while his melodies were presented as if offering his heart on his sleeve to the crowd. The progression of the playlist was beautifully thought out and quite effective. As the show roared on, the crowd escalated into a frenzy and couldnâ€™t help but beg for more. By the last song, the pit was overcome with bouncers who peeled screaming and sweaty fans off the crowd’s hands before delivering them back to the floor. When Travis Clark leaned into the crowd singing, the crowd went in a crazed frenzy, hoping just for a touch of Clark’s signature long, red locks. Finally, the concert ended with a cry for more as absolutely no one wanted to leave.
by Alexandra Rivera Boca Raton Community High School
Recently, the United States Department of Justice confirmed the merger between two of the largest ticket retailers in the country, TicketMaster and Live Nation. For avid concert-goers like me, this is probably the worst decision ever made in the world of music. Is any good going to come out of it?
The world of government anti-trust issues dates all the way back to the mid-1800s, post-Civil War era, when corporate giants such as John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan broke onto the scene with trusts and mega-corporations in the oil and banking industries. Fast-forward to 2010, and the predecessors for our anti-trust laws and governmental control over some companies sparked the beginning of this awful merger that victimizes fans across the country.
The merger clearly brings the two companies together and is now being called â€œLive Nation Entertainment, Inc.â€ to incorporate the titles of the two as well as to â€œreflect the combination of Live Nationâ€™s concert promotion expertise with Ticketmasterâ€™s world-class ticketing solutions and artist relationships,â€ according to the DOJ (whatever THAT means). The DOJ also states that â€œThrough this merger, the parties believe that the combined company will have the tools to develop new products, expand access, improve transparency and deliver artists and fans more choice. Â This will drive greater attendance at live events and bringing more value to all major constituents in the industry. The combined company also expects to pursue significant growth opportunities in markets around the world.â€ I rolled my eyes at the end of that statement.
As previously stated, I am an avid concert-goer. I attend at least three shows per year and sometimes the numbers increase, and ticket prices are already expensive to begin with, especially in the economic state that our nation is in. Throw all of the extra â€œservice feesâ€ and â€œprocessing chargesâ€ on top of a General Admission price and your $15.00 ticket shoots up to about twice of what itâ€™s worth. I usually buy my tickets from Live Nation, and they charge the same fees, but the prices are usually not that bad compared to TicketMasterâ€™s. Thus, TicketMaster merging with Live Nation is going to make the prices of tickets completely skyrocket into the clouds while simultaneously downsizing the amount of people that are going to spend their hard-earned money on tickets. TicketMasterâ€™s so-called â€œticketing solutionsâ€ are just ways to make people spend more money than they have to.
Also, how is this merger going to increase the attendance at shows? When I go to shows, theyâ€™re usually at smaller venues, such as Culture Room (Ft. Lauderdale) or Revolution Live (Ft. Lauderdale), and even then the venues donâ€™t reach their maximum capacities. As a matter of fact, Culture Room receives more shows because they sell their tickets so cheap that it costs Revolution too much money to hold a show there. But, this merger wonâ€™t increase attendance, itâ€™ll just decrease it, because no one has the money to go see their favorite artists anymore, and if they do go to shows then they will attend them at smaller venues that sell tickets for more affordable prices. The days of shows at sold-out arenas and theaters are far from over, and the times of shows at underground clubs or bars are ever-present.
Aside from the merger directly affecting fans, it also directly affects bands. From their perspective, the merger means less and less fans at shows since the price of renting venues isÂ constantly increasing and also because ticket sales are so low. According to Yahoo, artists and bands are not thrilled about this at all:
â€œBruce Springsteen, already furious with Ticketmaster for directing fans to a subsidiary selling tickets for above-face value, recently posted a statement on his Web site saying a deal with Live Nation could end up â€˜returning us to a near-monopoly situation in music ticketing.â€™â€
Clearly, this merger poses hundreds of problems and it hasnâ€™t made people very happy. America is supposed to be a democracy, which also means that mega-corporations cannot monopolize and break our anti-trust laws just to get more money to line their overstuffed pockets. With that said, although we as fans may not have a lot of power to do something about this, the only thing we can do is continue to support our artists and try not to let the merger get in the way of what we want as an audienceâ€”real live entertainment.
Interviews with Matisyahu, and Cage The Elephant have been added to the Loonatic Tv network! You can catch any of these interviews any time you want in the rock star stories on-demand section!
By Stephanie Waldrop
John Travolta is back in action in the new movie, â€œFrom Paris with Love.â€Â John plays a shaved head, cocaine sniffing Secret Agent Charlie Wax who has been sent to Paris to stop a terrorist attack… Along for the ride is James Reese, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Reese is a low key spy who was always hoping for a high key job and he gets just that when heâ€™s paired up with Charlie, which begins them into a terrorist conspiracy. DirectorÂ Pierre Morel (who also directedÂ Taken) seems like heâ€™s just focusing on Cinematography and violence.
Itâ€™s nice to be watching a movie and seeing the beautiful sites of Paris, but you need more to a film. The camera-work used during the fight scenes is just horrific. It really hurts to see a movie with such action have poor shots. It really creates a bad movie. What didnâ€™t lapse was the action. But too much action can be possible. This movie is just over-the-top. Donâ€™t get me wrong, I love a fast-pace movie as the next person, but at the end of this one, I had a headache! Not to forget that half the town gets killed before the movie is half over.
Overall, if youâ€™re a fan of Travolta I say wait till it goes onto DVD. This might be the last thrill ride movie heâ€™ll do. If not, go seeÂ Avatar for the 5th time. Iâ€™ll say one thing: If Travolta wasnâ€™t in this movie; it wouldnâ€™t be worth even mentioning. His co-star lacks mostly everything.Â From Paris with Love is just another movie that could of been, but wasnâ€™t.
Pictures by Melanie Hemminger
Disco Biscuits “Planet Anthem”
by Dina Kolman
Have you ever wanted to time travel? Strap your shoes on and just dance upon the decades? Bask in the radiance of the times, and live throughout the history of music; the psychedelic sixties, the groovy seventies, or even immerse in the glamorous groove of dance beats in the 80s. The Disco Biscuits make that dream a reality in their 5th studio album,Â Planet Anthem.Â
The album begins with “Loose Change,” a track that effortlessly epitomizes their style and sets the stage for a good listen. Though slightly cliche in lyrics, repeating “money is the root of all evil,” unique cries of techno emerge through the enchanting, echoing melodies. It feels like a spin off an 80s dance mix, mirroring styles of Depeche Mode.Â
“On Time” proves that one can be upbeat and insightful. The refreshing, metaphoric lyrics upload the listener into a digital world where women are computers, and oh so irresistible. The blending of pop, hip-hop, and dance with electronic undertones is masterfully done. The lyrics are hypnotic and intriguing, in this riveting song.Â
In their third track, “Widgets,” the Disco Biscuits bravely deviate from their usual “party jam” tempo and wander into a world of passion; the finger-picking of a classical guitar is inviting and foreboding. “I’m on the outside looking in” at a tantalizing track.
The Disco Biscuits have a tremendous way of transitioning between various styles while remaining true to themselves, and sounding natural. “You and I” is a song of heavier rock with a 70s punk influence. In a flash, the song shows hip-hop beats and visions of break dancers dance in my head. Just when you think there aren’t any more changes, they provide us with a trance-like hook. Magical!
“Konkrete” accentuates the Disco Biscuits’ eccentric, artsy side. The cool, jazzy intro captures the listener, while the lyrics and sound effects are eerie and haunting. “Uber Glue” puts a spotlight on their instrumental side. The light drum taps are lively and there are little words, allowing for free interpretation.Â
“Rain Song” is unique in that it has an Asian sound, of mystery and suspense. The woman’s voice is beautiful and adds to their versatility. In “Fish Out of Water,” the Disco Biscuits share their wildest thoughts. One can see into the their electronic dreams. This track reminds me of a 70s jam. The guitar solo gives one goose-bumps as the piano plays away. “Gonna make a rebel out of me.”
From the Disco Biscuits’ songs, one can hear their passion and creativity. We all knew they had soulful rhymes, but in “Sweatbox,” that there is rapping! This is just another way they are unique. They are the pop art of music; they are refreshing in their mixing of old and new sounds.Â
The track “The City” is a toe-tapping song with more of a story-telling style. He speaks in rhythm with a rock background, infusing chants and trumpets, with lyrics that capture the listener. It is a song of hopes, “sitting on a mountaintop”, gazing below at the city. It is a song of contemplative matter over nature, people, and of course, the safety and familiarity of “the city.”Â
In “Big Wrecking Ball,” I can imagine a band like Weezer, rocking out to the upbeat, guitar-heavy rhythms. This song shows their fun, alternative side. In the closing track, “Vacation,” the Disco Biscuits, once again, fuse together differing styles successfully. It is slow, eerie, and distinguished. The lyrics are thoughtful, “don’t wait everyday my love .” The Disco Biscuits cleverly mix upbeat, catchy beats, with passionate, heartfelt lyrics.
The Disco Biscuits are truly unique, passionate, slightly quirky, and random. This seemingly clashing combination works brilliantly for them. With tasteful lyrics and a wide array of sounds, they create a medley of enjoyable tunes. Soaring through the times, they have collected the best music inspiration and have combined all of the styles into an album that showcases their eccentric ways; they have rap, electronic, rock, jazz, pop and more! Providing inspiration for future bands to come, the Disco Biscuits take creativity and uniqueness to an entire new level, even that of another planet!
by Diana Ciuca
In the quaint corner of a vinyl-ed up, toned down records store, stood two mics. Unoccupied. It wasnâ€™t long until two â€˜punksâ€™ grabbed those mics and started jamming out. Not just singing for the sake of singing, or for commission, or even to attract a crowd. They sang, danced, yelledÂ for charity. Thanks to Radio-Active Records, one of the only venues which allows bands to play shows without charging an entrance free, boxes of caned food and stacks of water bottle packs were gathered for a Haitian Relief Effort.
The show featured a few local bands, mainly playing ska/punk/folk music. Since its a local show, not many people in the crowd were singing along and swaying to the music. That gave them an opportunity to do their own thing, like dance around a bit. Nevertheless, the bands each played a few covers and asked audience members to join in. The lively action of the shows along with energetic band members infused the entire atmosphere with energy. Loud, fun, freeâ€¦ what more could anyone ask for? And you even help out charity and local mom & pop small businesses that are struggling in these rough economic times.
Special light onÂ The Strikeouts!
As on of the bands there, you could say that their range is not so local. With a guitarists who goes to college in Miami, an Argentinian guitarist, a bassist whoâ€™s last name is Parisi, and a tenor saxist whoâ€™s name is Curtis, The Strikeouts! are definitely a mosaic of diversity thatâ€™s also reflected in their music. They describe themselves on theirÂ facebook page, the band represents â€œno frills South Florida Skacore.â€ Returning from an exhausting tour around Florida from Jacksonville to Orlando and back down to Boca, The Stikeouts! have started doing some professional recordings. Their next show is February 17th, check out their page for more information. If youâ€™re looking to dance and jump around, you better be there.