Remember this guy from roughly four years back with a debut album and a stint on One Tree Hill? Or maybe you remember him as Elivis in Walk The Line? Check out this nice cover he does of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.”
Last week I posted a song and a picture along with a heads up that a Lenka concert review would be coming soon. Well, today I have to disclose the bad news. I missed Lenka. I could not, for the life of me, locate the charger to the GPS that my dad so thoughtfully gave me for Christmas so I decided that I had been to the House of Blues enough times and that I could find it on my own. Therefore, rather than going back for a Google map, I simply headed toward downtown. I should have known not to take that risk.
All I could do once I was lost was drive around until I saw the neon blue sign and make that wide right hand turn when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that I was about to pass it. By the time I got there I suspected that she had probably already finished. When I arrived I had to purchase my ticket and I stood behind a guy talking about The Ting Tings concert that was held there a few months ago. I wanted to say, “Hey man, I was at that show” but I really didn’t need to butt in.
I asked the girl at the entrance beer tub if I did, in fact, miss Lenka’s performance and she replied with a, “Well, if that’s who that was then yes.” I found myself smirking because, not only did she give me a funny answer, but she also said it in a tone that reminded me of Linda from the show Becker. In case you’re not familiar, Linda played Ted Danson’s air-headed nurses aid.
So, I shopped the merchandise for a while as they played The Beatles “The News” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” between sets. Justin Nozuka appeared in a simple white wife-beater and began with “Down in a Cold Dirty Well” from his debut album, Holly. While listening to this song I figured he may have been influenced by Bill Wither’s as it reminded me of Bill’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.” I kid you not, two songs later he was doing an “Ain’t No Sunshine” cover. I freakin’ hear this song covered way too much! It is kind of fun to hear it done in different ways though. There is a description I like to use from time to time that I call ‘vocal gymnastics’ and it definitely applies to Justin and the way he works his nice falsetto into his rapid and numerous changing of intervals.
The energy was there, not just from Justin but from Missy Higgins as well. It was the first night of their tour together and I presume that is why it was so great. “Golden Train” introduced the keyboard and Mark Pellizzer, Justin’s band mate. Acknowledgment for the bass goes to Anthony Lavdanski and the Drums to Alex Tanas. Anthony and Alex also supply backing vocals. The guys have been together for two years.
They played a song called “Be Back Soon” and, unfamiliar as I was to the album, I initially heard another cover. Beginning merely with Justin’s acoustic guitar the first three chords were that of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.” From my guitar attempting days I remember those in Tablature as open-3-6 on the A and D strings. You can poke fun if you want to but beginners have to start somewhere.
He played his single, “After Tonight,” a song that tells the simple story of a man asking his girlfriend to come away with him promising that, if she does, she will no longer have to dream of heaven. Next, he introduced his song “Save Him” as a song written from the perspective of two men living in an apartment building and witnessing an abusive and fatal relationship going on close by. I usually shy away from this issue because I feel that several cases include an element of attention-begging by those who cry wolf, so to speak. Therefore, I was nervous when the song started but, after hearing it in its entirety, I can assure you that this song depicts the real thing. Both parties struggle and both parties destruct. At the end of the long haul she dies and he dies; the victim and the abuser; a homicide and a suicide. The song was performed by Justin and Mark, his guitarist, with so much passion that I have to wonder if the two of them were the witnesses. Their shared hand shake following the song only made my assumption stronger.
He soloed on a song called “Oh Momma” in which he asks his mom to hold him closer and tells her how much he loves her and how he couldn’t live without her. What a mamma’s boy! Lastly, they played “Criminal” and with a little wave and a “have a good night” that was it.
1. Down in a Cold Dirty Well
2. Don’t Listen To a Word You’ve Heard
3. Golden Train
4. Ain’t No Sunshine (Bill Wither’s cover)
5. Be Back Soon
6. Mr. Therapy Man
7. Supposed To Grow Old
8. After Tonight
9. I’m In Peace
10. Save Him
11. Oh Momma
With the next intermission came the return of The Beatles songs. During the assembly of Missy’s equipment we heard the following:
All You Need Is Love
Listening to all these songs triggered the thought that I may never get my DVD of “Across the Universe” back. The 1960’s story built around The Beatles tunes and very creatively directed by Julie Taymor. I lent it to a friend months ago and you know how that goes.
Then they switched to the Rolling Stones:
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Sympathy for the Devil
The Australian singer-songwriter, in her high-wasted pencil skirt and cap-sleeved blouse, at last materialized and began with “Don’t Ever” from her debut album, The Sound of White, from 2004. Unaided by her band mates, she incorporated a little whistling to accompany her voice and her guitar. Then she transitioned to the piano for a nice hand over hand execution of “All for Believing.”
Unlike Justin, she wasn’t shy about addressing the crowd. She had fun saying how much she was enjoying “Heee-you-ston” as she had the pleasure of spending a few days in town prior to the tour kick-off. They had been to The Menil Collection, an art gallery in the Montrose area, earlier that day and their cab driver was not the first to ask them what kind of music they played. So, they came up with the definitive answer of ‘coffee house.’
During her song “Angela” she played a melodica. The melodica is a fascinating instrument, strangely reminiscent of a harmonica, but comprised of a hand held keyboard and a mouthpiece. Blowing into the mouthpiece produces the sound facilitated by the keys that are plucked. She returned to the piano for “Warm Whispers” and got so entrenched in her own performance that she was standing out of her piano stool. She presented the next two songs solely, the later of which was “Forgive Me.” Her forerunning explanation of this song was that she wrote it like an apology letter by an unfaithful man to his family. She is often captivated by the possibility of probing into other individual’s ‘mind-stances’ and, with this one, she attempted to be the man who was truly sorry.
“Secret” had a bit of a funk-folk sound to it and was implemented with a little Steel guitar. As if we needed more instrumental variety, the banjo launched the next song, “Going North.” I haven’t mentioned her sophomore album so I would like to inform you now that this song is off of her second studio album, On a Clear Night, released in 2007.
She did a cover of a Patty Griffith song called “Moses.” It’s a song that she has loved ever since she was a little girl and she wanted to perform a “coffee house rocked up” version of it for us. Missy is distinct from her peers in that her accent is apparent when she sings. With this song she especially pronounced “Roses” and “Moses” the way an Aussie would. With an R-sound rounding out the O’s, if you know what I mean.
Nearing the end of her set she felt it was necessary to include a little crowd interaction with her song “Peachy.” She politely asked for a little clap along and joked that “everyone loves audience participation, right?” With that statement, she and her band began the clap. Her band consists of Ben on guitar, David on bass, and Felix on drums. I didn’t catch their last names. She ended with one of her more well-known singles, “Steer,” a song about discovering the freedom inside of you.
Before I forget, I wanted to make a point to mention that Missy is an adorable and charming young lady. I met another frequent concert-goer while at the show that caught me taking notes and was concerned. He said that he had seen Justin Nozuka before without an electric guitarist and he thought that the rawness of it was much better. That’s what started our conversation. I told Mr. so and so not to worry because I rarely say bad things. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to recall his name. I want to say David? Oh well. Whoever you are, you have my website. Feel free to make comments. I’m sure you’re happy to find that my stories are really just surveillances of the evening’s episodes rather than critiques.
1. Don’t Ever
2. All for Believing
3. Wrong Girl
5. Ten Days
6. 100 Round the Bends
7. Warm Whispers
9. Forgive Me
11. Going North
12. Moses (Patty Griffith cover)
14. This Is How It Goes
15. Where I Stood
So, Coldplay doesn’t win anything in the UK! They only win in the U.S. Go figure?! No love for MGMT either. And come on, Katy Perry instead of Santogold!
Anyway, this was Duffy’s night. Way to go Duffy!
Take a look at the full winners’ list below:
British Female Solo Artist:
Duffy – WINNER
British Breakthrough Act:
Duffy – WINNER
The Last Shadow Puppets
Scouting For Girls
The Ting Tings
International Female Solo Artist:
Katy Perry – WINNER
AC / DC – Black Ice
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
The Killers – Day & Age
Kings of Leon – Only By The Night – WINNER
MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
British Male Solo Artist:
Paul Weller – WINNER
Coldplay – Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
Duffy – Rockferry – WINNER
Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
Radiohead – In Rainbows
The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing
Elbow – WINNER
British Live Act :
Iron Maiden – WINNER
Scouting For Girls
AC / DC
Kings of Leon – WINNER
International Male Solo Artist:
Kanye West – WINNER
I will be seeing Lenka with Justin Nozuka and Missy Higgins tomorrow night the Houston House of Blues. I thought it fitting to post a ‘Lenka’s 2009 tour video,’ accompanied by her song, “Don’t Let Me Fail,” off of her 2008 self-titled debut. This album also includes “The Show” which has been used for several Old Navy commercials.
This group is currently touring the U.S. with M83, an awesome French electronic group that supported The Killers earlier this month. I missed them at Verizon Wireless Theatre in Houston. The School of Seven Bells describes their sound as ‘dream pop.’ Their album Alpinisms was released on October 28, 2008.
Here’s a the latest video from Ra Ra Riot off their album The Rhumb Line released last August on Barsuck Records. Great video!
Ok, it’s time for me to go mainstream. The Fray has finally released their second studio album. This self-titled sophomore came out last Tuesday January 3, 2009. The single “You Found Me” debuted two months ago on VH1 with their music video that compiles scenes from the upcoming season of Lost on ABC.
Anya Marina hails from San Diego but was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She recorded a five-song debut EP called Exercises in Racketeering then the full-length, Miss Halfway, in 2005. She is coming into the light now with appearances in SPIN and Paste Magazines and because of her tour with Jason Mraz.
If anyone is wondering why I took an extra day to post my post-Grammy entry it is because I needed that day to recover. Come on Mr. Portnow! We thought last year was bad. I knew this going in but I will stress it again…there was just not enough variety in the performances. I would have loved to see Death Cab for Cutie, Kings of Leon, Leona Lewis, Duffy, Jason Mraz, etc. but instead I get M.I.A. prancing around LA’s Staples Center stage on the day that she is supposed to give birth and Katy Perry wearing a Chikita banana costume. Have I done something wrong?! Did I deserve to be tortured like that!?
The U2 performance of “Get On Your Boots” off the new No Line On the Horizon album was very psychedelic. I’m sorry but at this point I was wishing it was last year and I was listening to Alicia Keys open. Remember that performance? How she sang along to the Sinatra video and then went to the end of the stage and killed the piano. Now, that opening was great. Bono, you are too big-headed for your own good. And, while we’re on the subject, why did you find it necessary during Obama’s inauguration celebration to causally sit on the Capital platform specifically constructed for the occasion? It gave off a pretentious vibe.
Congrats to Jennifer Hudson for her Best R & B Album win for the September 2008 self-titled release. We can forgive her for wearing a dress with a built in bib.
I liked the collaboration with Boyz II Men, Al Green, Keith Urban, and Justin Timberlake performing Al Green’s “Let’s Get Together.” Keith Urban just gets to be in everything because he’s a great guitar player. I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing. I love Keith and his guitar playing. This was, by the way, the last minute filler for Rihanna, the girlfriend of the booked felon, Chris Brown. Too bad. What a wasted talent. He was great. Now Wrigley’s and everyone else will discard him and nothing about that will change if he is not convicted. You can’t have a guy with a reputation wearing the milk mustache.
I cannot do any criticizing when it comes to Coldplay, I can only make suggestions. “Lost” did not have to be a Chris Martin piano solo, buuuuut it’s okay that it was. Also, I’m not sure I liked Jay-Z stepping in either. Buuuut, I’m okay with it. Can everybody please stop making fun of the costumes? I still like them. They looked uniform, they stood out, they brightened up the colors. All good things.
On that note, I was in love with Paula Abdul’s dress. Why did everyone slam it!? Who cares if she said the dress was from Lebanese, we all know what she meant. Stop giving her such a hard time.
Carrie Underwood singing “Last Name” off of Carnival Ride. She is always amazing. Even people who never listen to pop country give her the thumbs up every time she performs. The dress with the June Carter sleeves was cute but her legs looked spray tanned. Sorry, I couldn’t help but to stare at her legs. I don’t know who has nicer legs. Admit it, you were too. Katy Perry and I weren’t the only ones.
Best Country Performance by a Duo goes to SugarLand for “Stay” off of Enjoy The Ride. Yay! I am happy.
Song of the Year goes to Coldplay for “Viva La Vida” off of Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends. Again. I am happy.
Kid Rock did not get three songs. Just a clarification for all of you complaining that Sir Paul McCartney deserved just as much stage time but didn’t get it. Kid rock did what is called a medley of three of his songs off of Rock and Roll Jesus. The performance was good. I’ve said this before, but I’m glad that Kid Rock turned into someone that everybody likes.
Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. It all goes downhill from here! Taylor Swift never performs well live. She does write her own songs and the two performed Taylor’s “Fifteen” off of Fearless. I thought Miley would carry her through but I was wrong. Guess what? The two of them are really friends, like in real life. Okay, that was me mocking Miley. Oh I’m so mean. She’s just young. For those of you wondering, she is not giving up the role of Hannah Montana to her younger sister.
Best Pop Collaboration with Vocal goes to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss for “Rich Woman” off of Raising Sand. Oh, now I get it. After seeing their nominations months prior to the Grammy’s, I JUST now realized why I was confused last year. This album came out in October of 2007. When I watched the Grammy’s last year I was shocked that they only got recognized in this same category for “Gone, Gone, Gone.” Now I know that the “Gone, Gone, Gone” single made the cut but the album just missed the deadline date and they had to wait a whole extra year before being honored in other categories. This, in my opinion, prevented a Coldplay sweep and I don’t know how I feel about that. I think I would have been okay with a Coldplay sweep. Hasn’t Alison Krauss won more Grammy’s than anyone ever? Don’t quote me on that because I am not positive. Don’t get me wrong, I love this album but part of me agrees with my morning talk show host of the BUZZ rock station in Houston. He claims that the album is just too successful and he wanted to see it tank in hopes that Robert Plant would go back on tour with the rest of Led Zeppelin.
Jennifer Hudson is such a doll. Nice performance! It’s no wonder she won. She deserves it. By the way, the dress you performed in was much better Jen.
The Jonas Brothers with Stevie Wonder, the man who has performed on more Grammy nights than anyone else. At least they did a Stevie song. “Very Superstitious.” Ya’ know, I like them. You have to admit that, as musicians, they are good. They just have the Disney Channel curse. Are they ever going to really make it or has their association with the Disney Channel stunted their progression?
Best Rock Album goes to Coldplay. I don’t have to say it again, but I will. I am happy. I like that they addressed Paul in each acceptance speech and jokingly apologized for recycling the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band costumes. Chris Martin, you are supposed to go off backstage. Not down the stairs and back to your seat. That was cute though.
We were told that Katy Perry was going to descend to the stage aboard some sort of phallic looking contraption for her “I Kissed A Girl” performance. We weren’t mislead. It was a giant banana. I don’t know what to say. I just know that way to much of the budget was spent on this number.
Kanye West and Estelle singing Estelle’s “American Boy” from Shine. It was just okay. I would have rather seen Kanye solo doing “Love Lockdown” off of 808s & Heartbreak. Estelle, what are you wearing? No, it’s not any better than the dress you showed up in. Just to let you know, we have not found life on Mars. So, if that is where you were planning to go in that outfit I would advise you to think again. And Kanye, I can’t believe that you have a fro.
Best new artist goes to Adele. I know everyone else is happy but I was pulling for Duffy! Furthermore, I don’t think Adele should have won for best Female Pop Vocal either. I know, I know. You can cuss at me and call me names if you want to. I just think that her voice, while I like it, has become a common sound coming from London recently. Duffy’s is unique. And nobody belted it out quite like Sarah Bareilles (except Carrie Underwood of course). That is why I think Sarah should have won Female Pop Vocal for “Love Song” off of her Little Voice album. Whew, I’m prepared for my lashing.
The only reason why I didn’t fall asleep during Kenny Chesney’s performance is because I’ve grown to love the ballad he chose, “Better as a Memory,” off his album, Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates. Or, it was the scintillating conversation I was having with my sister that kept me awake. She had heard a rumor that Kenny started balding at a young age, thus, the hat and the shaved head. I said that he is a cowboy and that is, of course, why he wears the hat. And he shaves his head because he looks sexy that way.
Record of the Year goes to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss for “Please Read the Letter.” Again, I’m not surprised but everyone else is.
M.I.A, Kanye, T.I, Lil’ Wayne, and Jay-Z performing “Swagga Like Us” from Jay-Z’s album, The Blueprint. Oh, dear God! Can you please rewind my life and warn me to turn the television off for the three to four excruciating minutes that this bunch paraded the stage? M.I.A. why must you do this to me just when I was starting to like you?
Thanks Paul for performing the old Beatles song, “Saw Her Standing There.” Your new stuff is great too but let’s face it, you alone can’t top the Fab Four. Now, where is Dave Ghrol? I thought he was performing with you. Oh there he is, back there playing the drums. He’s taking us back to his Nirvana days as we all know he doesn’t play drums for the Foo Fighters.
Male Pop Vocal goes to John Meyer for “Say” from The Bucket List soundtrack. Okay. I can’t say that I’m disappointed even though I was pulling for Jason Mraz. I love John Meyer and his was the best pre-show interview by far. He always has intelligent things to say.
I already knew that SugarLand performing “Stay” wouldn’t be a disappointment. I hated the song when it first came out because I thought it was boring. Now I love it and I love the way she sings it and all the emotion she puts into it every time. Well done Jennifer Nettles!
Adele performing her title track, “Chasing Pavements.” Yeah, I like it but it’s kind of dull. I don’t know why I’m not on the same page as the rest of you. Sorry.
Thank God Radiohead broke the boredom with “15 Step” off of In Rainbows. So, Gwyneth Paltrow was there to watch her hubby, Chris Martin, and to introduce Radiohead. That was the University of Southern California marching band performing with Radiohead. What a bunch of lucky people they are.
T.I. and Justin Timberlake performing “Dead and Gone” from T.I’s Paper Trail album. Eh. I’m not a T.I. fan. It got better when Justin took charge.
NE-YO, Jaimee Foxx, “Duke” Fakir (of the Four Tops), and Smokey Robinson performing some Motown Four Tops classics including “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” “Reach Out,” and “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch.” This was good. Too bad Duke can’t sing anymore. Smokey’s still got it though. We lost a Four Top this past year (Levi Stubbs), thus the homage performance. This leaves “Duke” as the last remaining founding Four Top.
Neil Diamond performing “Sweet Caroline.” It seems like he was probably a good performer back in the day. He’s got a lot of energy even now. I just can’t stand the song though. Not that it’s a bad song, I’ve just heard enough of it. Why must they play it every night at every bar? I thought it was just an MSU thing until I moved to Texas and heard it at the bars here too. Enough! I’m sick of it.
B.B King, John Meyer, and Keith Urban performing “Hand jive.” It was a great guitar jam.
Lil’ Wayne and Robin Thicke performing “Tie My Hands.” I am in rap overload. Please, this would have been a good time for a Jason Mraz performance. I have a trivia fact for you. Lil’ Wayne (Dwayne Carter) was enrolled at the University of Houston in 2005 for a year majoring in Political Science. If I had only started working for the university a few years earlier! Honestly, I couldn’t care less that I may have missed my chance for a run in with Lil’ Wayne.
Best Rap Album goes to Lil’ Wayne for Tha Carter III. Oh my gosh, I am so surprised. What an upset. NOT!
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss close the night with “Rich Woman” and “Gone, Gone, Gone.” They end the night because they win the big one folks!
Album of the Year goes to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. That’s a wrap. See you next year!
Now I’m looking forward to the BRIT awards next Wednesday February 18, 2009. I rated them better than the Grammy’s last year so we’ll see if the trend continues. If you get BBC make sure to tune in.