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.
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.
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 Dina Kolman
Allison Moorer- Crows
Tattered threads hug her half-heatedly as she ambles along the dirt-ridden road. Tears crawl down her porcelain skin, pre-maturely wrinkled from grief and worry. She gazes off into the foreboding horizon, longing for a new life; A life of simple pleasures and harmony. Such emotion is propelled through the heart-felt poetry of singer/songwriter Allison Moorer’s music. One can imagine the agony and plead for serenity of a women, from the release of Moorer’s album, Crows.
Allison Moorer’s seventh album, Crows, is a canvas on which she paints her insightful creativity. With an emphasis on life and nature, this metaphorically driven album touches hearts and effectively transfers Moore’s emotions to her audience. Crows is the follow up to her critically acclaimed 2008 album, Mockingbird. Allison Moorer carries out the bird motif to celebrate her obsession with birds. She has been told that birds “are our messengers from the other side, so she decided that instead of letting them make her uneasy, she would consider them friendly and believe they were bringing her messages of comfort.” She even sings about these omniscient crows in the concluding track entitled “Crows.” Showing her connection to earth and natural pleasure, Moore surely sends her message to ears around. In “Easy In The Summertime,” Moorer’s nostalgic reflection on a southern lifestyle in the summertime: mother’s love, mouthwatering- melon, swinging in torn blue-jeans, and the freedom of going barefoot on the cool, hard wood, is relatable and charming. In “The Broken Girl,” Moorer depicts a solemn girl, creatively adding an upbeat catchy rhythm of drums and guitars to contrast the dramatic and sorrowful lyrics. “Just Another Fool” shows her attitude about women overcoming oppression and being independent. The sultry voice captivates listeners in the ballad “Should I be Concerned,” greatly showcasing her dynamic voice range.
Though her songs grant listeners with consoling warmth, alleviating air, and a light of hope, Moorer has the tendency for her lyrics to become disconnected with the supporting music. These heartfelt, bluesy songs of desperation and solemnity become repetitive cries, becoming mundane and melodramatic. Songs such as “Abalone Sky,” and “Goodbye to the Ground” encompass such heartfelt and optimistic words, yet posses such a repetitive, persistent meter, distracting the listener from its powerful message. “In Still The Side of Gone,” Moorer begs for a sign of hope to set her free. While not every track on Crows is a depressing ballad, the majority are woeful pleads that may be easier to listen to if they had an upbeat rhythm, like few tracks on Crows do. In those few tracks, Moorer counter-balances the solemnity with beautifully balanced acoustic guitars, precise piano, and even guest instruments such as violins. The mix is quaint but intriguingly passionate. The final transition is to a very dull, blues-like sound. In “It’s Gonna Feel Good (When It Stops Hurting),” dramatic lyrics swirl amidst the eerie melodies. Vivid images of overcoming pain dance in our heads, leaving a lasting impression of Moorer’s thoughts.
Along with Allison Moorer’s passion and thoughts, comes this warm, comfortable quilt of an album. The songs are strung together as the unique patches. Finally, holding together those patches are the threads of lyrics, running themselves in and out of this quilt. The lyrics brilliantly convey Moorer’s thoughts about life, love, hardship, and even birds. Though the tracks may seem to overlap in style and lose distinguishability, they are still creative evidence of thoughtful Allison Moorer. One must have an open ear to the sultry, soulful, and blues-like style on Crows, but it is not a quilt to be discarded and forgotten.
by Diana Ciuca
Santa seems to be messing with me. I got some S-S-Stuff this Christmas. No, that’s not a stutter. It just so happens that some elf was looking through the music dictionary and decided to send me a stack of s-starting bands. He also attached a note with the words, “Santa Says Sorry”…And for good reason. Since we’re on the subject of studying the structure of the band names, we might as well also focus on the titles of their songs – all of them scream angst and non-conformity:Â Scar Symmetry’s Noumenon and Phenomnon off of their album Dark Matter Dimensions (2009), Samael’s Black Hole off of Above (2009),Â Suffocation’s Cataclysmic Purification off of their album Blood Oath (2009),Â Sonic Syndicate’s Burn This City from their forthcoming album in 2010, and finally,Â Sonata Arctica with Flag in the Ground off of Days of Grays. (2009).
But, to better understand the great weight of all of this metal, I’ve decided to make a guide to help myself and you in the meantime.
How to be (Heavy Metal) Hardcore
They’re more scared of you than you are of them. They loathe society. They are commonly known as punks, outcasts, rebels… but don’t be so quick to judge what is commonly known as HEAVY METAL.
Step 1: Appearance.
Hello! Dreads, much? A valley girl accent sounds worse to them then their grating voices may ever sound to us. Nevertheless, to be truly metal, your hair has to be either too long, too short (in all the wrong places, not there at all, or too dirty (example: Suffocation). The main singer in the follow A bit more difficult to bear and transform than the mass of whatever growing on your head is the coloring of your skin. Yep, tattoos. Prepare to get tatted up usually with an anarchist symbol or dragons. Maybe you will see some designs you like in the following videos, especially on the guitarists’ forearms. Last, but sometimes least, is the clothing. Keep it dark, dreary, and different. Surprisingly, tight black shirts are not as metro-sexual as one might believe (see Scar Symmetry’s lead singer as an example).
Step Two: Video Magic
We’ve covered the general basics, so let’s move on to the videos – appearance in action. Thankfully, unlike pop videos, the bands do not attempt to recreate the scene they are singing about. This occurs because of two reasons: 1. if this were in fact the case, most Heavy Metal music videos wouldn’t look that different (more on that later) and, 2. the video usually tries to capture the band in action, playing, since this is their most pure environment.
Black and white
although really cheap, this effect worked well to show contrast inÂ Scar Symmetry’s Noumenon and Phenomenon
A better documentation of this effect is evident in Samael’sÂ Black Hole
In this video, they attempt to provoke nostalgia in a very 70s concert setting. They also used an old-video border (lame!) to enhance this effect. A for effort, but C for artistic creativity.
I know, right? You’re probably thinking that cartoons are such a childish idea. But, of all these heavy metal concepts, this is the best integrated one. Cartoons aid in depicting the utter havoc expressed through the song lyrics. Also, like in Black Hole, these cartoons/drawing repeatedly strike the same concept to ingrain an idea into your memory.
Quick Camera Angles
Although this may have the consequence of making your audience nauseous, this effect is apparently hardcore. All of the videos included this to a greater or lesser degree.
If it’s not in someone’s garage or an abandoned dirty factory, then some might say that you’re taking this “Heavy Metal thing too far, man.”
Nevertheless, an example of a more progressive Heavy Metal Video is Sonic Syndicate’sÂ Burn This City which features some classy FX, like a helicopter scene along with a artistic background (of wrecked city rummage)
See Samael’sÂ Black Hole,
and Sonic Syndicate’sÂ Burn This City
Rammstein, Anvil, and Kiss all mastered the use of fire in live concerts. However, fire in live videos (albeit ‘hardcore’) doesn’t have the same desire effect. Scar Symmetry featured the most pathetic recreation of fire using a green screen which made them look more penniless than ruthless.
Along with fire comes burning and blood.
a symbol for anger, hate, pain, and suffering. Widely used to emphasize a certain point and goes well in contrast to the widely used and abused black and white effect.
See Suffocation’sÂ Cataclysmic Purification
Obvious, but true. You cannot achieve any level of hardcore-d-ness if you are incapable of producing an intense headbang. Just like machine guns, the guitarists (most often) attack the camera with their head banging flair/hair.
The more you move your head, the better you are at being hardcore.
In Suffocation’s video, the band members move so much that one would assume that they are absolutely faceless.
Step Three: Music
ahh, yes, we finally arrive to the musical aspect of this sub-culture. Heavy metal music has 3 distinct melodic components: Percussion, Guitar, and voice. Also, it has the ever recurring theme ofÂ isolation, death, depression which they use to attract a distinct audience.
Continuous percussion results in a hardcore headache. Sonic Syndicate, for instance, alternated the drum pounding with vocals and light to moderate guitar.
Nonetheless, the drums need to be banged extremely hard. The more action the better. If you can actually break your drums (or your arms) during a show, mad props to you.
Guitar riffs can be frequently over-used, such as in Scar Symmetry’s song. Again, in moderation, this effect will work well especially a bit after the halfway point of the song. Led Zeppelin was famous for their guitar solos. Sonic Syndicate and Sonata Arctica managed to skillfully demonstrate enough guitar to sound hardcore, but not too much to end up sounding like some punks.
No, really. Gimme a throaty scream, growl, anything. It’s not just to create noise (although I would disagree), but it’s purpose is to reflect emotion.
In moderation, this effect can equate to a nice balance of actual singing and strong growls.
The growls also create an interesting rythmn by balancing out the percussion (as in Suffocation’s song).
Light vocals can create too much of a similarity to love ballads (which is soft/pillow/plushy metal).Â Sonata Arctica almost crossed the line with their (over)incorporation of soft vocals and extended ballads along with the desperate, “”Hope to hear from you soon,” lyrics. They also featured a Rush-like voice along with a keyboard-guitar (Key-tar!). This resulted in an eerie Hair-Metal mix of Pirates of The Carribean.
Need more help on being Hardcore? Just go to a show! For that, you’re going to need some protection (helmet, mouthguard, kneepads, life insurance). I’ll be sure to give you a How-to Article on that later. Don’t forget to keep listening and observing. Some good guides are Vh1′s heavy Metal Documentaries, the Anvil Docudrama, and my personal favorite THIS IS SPINAL TAP.
Check out Shows/ The Rock Star Stories tab for the All American Rejects/Taking Back Sunday videos. Â Thanks to Matt and Adam from TBS and Mike and Chris from AAR for talking with us. Â Also thanks to Alex our host!
by Diana Ciuca
Two bands. One genre. There can only be one winner and one loser.
Whereas one might think, “This genre can’t possibly be big enough of the two of [them],” I will vouch to say you’re wrong. Welcome to the magical land of techno, which encompasses house to trance to electro-pop. Although these sub-genres may be diametrically opposed, just because they lie on the periphery of techno doesn’t mean that the repetitive beats don’t possess the resemblance that it takes to become part of the expansive “techno” genre. Thus, in this realm of new-age realism, I will compare two very diverse, yet seemingly similar songs with an extremely encompassing techno album by the famous producer, David Guetta. Who will rise and who will fall?
First up is RÃ¶yksopp, a heavyweight due to its popularity in media through TV series and commercials. However, this comes as both a blessing and a curse. Due to it’s commerciality, RÃ¶yksopp has lost any luster as being a potential “indie” band. For this match, they’re presenting their new hit, “Happy Up Here,” and uplifting piece. At the opposite end lies STS9, Sound Tribe Sector 9, a structured band and more than a mere amateur. They’re giving us “Atlas,” a more extended techno piece with a greater compositional variety.
“The fight had it’s turns,” in the words of famous novelist Normal Mailer. RÃ¶yksopp won most of the early rounds, but STS9 knocked RÃ¶yksopp down in the sixth. STS9 had trouble getting up, but made it, came alive and was dominating RÃ¶yksopp again before the round was over. The first sign of weakness arose once RÃ¶yksopp maintained the same 4 bar beat and STS9 kept progressing, hitting stronger and stronger.
While RÃ¶yksopp failed to promote the usual variety, STS9 included musical climaxes and fade-outs to not only excite the audience but crush RÃ¶yksopp. Even with RÃ¶yksopp’s previous success, this battle proves that historical precedent does not do justice to present faults. “Happy Up Here” simply is a trite piece of ‘chill-out music.’ Generally not associated with this prolific Norwegian band who has had hits like “Remind Me” and “Poor Leno,” this song exemplifies the negative side of techno: synth, synth, beats, synth. STS9′s “Atlas” beautifully told a story, as would any song that belongs in a movie action thriller. Sadly, that classification does not do mercy to the song itself. Albeit it will not hype you up, it is still quite enjoyable in the end.
Nevertheless, the true winner here is techno. Compare this “battle” to David Guetta’s recent album “One Love” which featured romantic hits such as ‘Sexy Bitch’ (Akon) and ‘I Gotta Feelin’ (BEP). Guetta gained fame through “Love Has Gone,” which includes a relentless beat mimicked in “Gettin’ Over” on his newest album. These songs, as usual, are relayed throughout the radio and on the billboard charts, as he even received a Grammy nomination for his production of Kelly Rowland’s “When Love Takes Over.” Nevertheless, his work exemplifies the level of achievement and success that the genre of techno has arrived to. It now mingles with pop (Black Eyed Peas), R&B (Kelly Rowland), Reggae (Bob Marley), and metal (not on this album, but on other bands’ such as Rammstein). Therefore, with the rise of technology comes the fall of musical barriers as the differences between genres increasingly fade away.