LIVE STAND-UP COMEDY THOUGHTS:
Comedians that provide highly useful social commentary to the improvement of society is a dying breed/rare breed. The average famous comic being intellectually oppressed from: showbiz life, peers that aren’t impressive at being eccentric to societal norms enough to help influence change them, the media (just like most other Americans), and the bar being currently set at a lower spot than when George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, Chris Farley & Bill Hicks were all still alive and well. The profound, wise, social commentary, of George Carlin will not be topped, for a very long time, if ever again, is even in the cards. Though Louis C.K and Lewis Black certainly are trying to keep the flame in the torch burning, and that should be appreciated. Carlin’s one hour greatest hits clip compilation video on YouTube is a testament to how daring he was in his statements he’d make within some of his HBO specials. How he’d push the envelope with ideas/concepts he’s thought through, challenge norms and perceptions by the masses, and say things that NO ONE else would ever willingly say, in the public eye, to (mainstream) releases, for the world to absorb. One of the world’s worst losses of individuals of fame of the last half century. But hey at least we still have Steven Wright, Louis C.K, Larry David, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Patton Oswalt, Jeff Ross, Bill Burr, iliza Schlesinger, John Stewart, John Oliver & Lewis Black. That’s still a fairly good collective keeping quality stand-up comedy alive.
Comedians should be able to joke about the absolute most difficult subjects, and get laughs. Comedy is tragedy. Tragedy is comedy. They should also be able to get laughs from truth.
Was speedroasted by Jeff Ross. With a leather jacket on, Jeff said “he’s just here for the warmth”. Followed by more homeless jokes. Was pretty hilarious. Great moment.
Patton Oswalt’s stage curtain fell on top of him after he accidentally bumped into something. As he brilliantly put it a couple mins later. “I literally brought the house down”. the audience roared in laughter at his quality joke, of the mistake and with him with his making light of the situation.
LIVE MUSIC THOUGHTS/MUSIC THOUGHTS
Songs that can either 1. Give us goosebumps, 2. Cause Adrenaline rush, 3. Have a beautiful melody, 4. contain lyrics that any of us/each of us can connect with personally, 5. Help solve an emotion: anger, sadness or happiness, or 6. We can dance to, are the BEST kinds of music. This could be any genre, to be sure. Though if it contains any, or many, of those 6 elements, it’s a winner.
All time best lists, are fairly spot on, with a lot of their selections. Though they are missing lots of films/acts/songs/etc that ought to be in there, most of us all agree. Though in terms of the lists focusing on music, they need more modern recognition. If these lists are re-done by top publications, expect to see some of the following, newly included, in all time best music lists: Joe Bonamassa, Royal Blood, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Black Pistol Fire, alt-J, Live, Chance The Rapper, Vince Staples, Danny Brown, The Weeknd, Blackbear, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Ryan Adams, Phoenix, FIDLAR, Swedish House Mafia, Beirut, Greta Van Fleet, Kamasi Washington, Kurt Elling, System Of A Down, The War On Drugs, Lorde, Foster The People, Imagine Dragons, Father John Misty, Sia, Glass Animals, Herbie Hancock, Lana Del Rey, Run The Jewels, Shins, Linkin Park & more Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails & Jack White content, could all be possibilities. Only listing those that are lacking in any of their content selected, (or very little content selected), in all time best music lists, that could be present the next time around, when they surface again, whenever that may be.
The best live acts are: 1. the acts that you didn’t give a hoot about before seeing them, and after seeing them, you’re either impressed, astonished, exhilarated or they won you over in some other way. 2. Can improvise their playing live (and even better when that’s not publicly documented or expected). 3. That can improvise with their crowds depending on what is shouted their way. 4. The acts that change their setlist often. Either with every set (it’s always different, even if only a little bit), or many times throughout their tour. 4. Acts that make you feel proud that you saw them. 5. Musicians that can rework a song to make it better live. Listen to Inhaler by Foals (the actual album version), then listen to Inhaler by Foals Wayhome 2016 Youtube video with earbuds, and you’ll see that, that’s a good example of a band who accomplished precisely that. 7. Rappers that can freestyle, in an actually good, technical sense. Rather than just relying on the tape/track over the speakers to cover a lot of their ground in terms of how they present their sound of almost all the time of their set. 8. Rappers that are fun to see live because the whole set feels like a giant party. EDM acts are great for that too. Better than rappers actually. 9. Acts that challenge norms, push the envelope, and release groundbreaking material (for recent years, Kendrick Lamar is one of the best examples), 10. acts that give you goosebumps & adrenaline live, just like they do in the studio. And 11. Musicians that genuinely appreciate and are warm to their fans.
That can go a long way, it can even make the difference, in the support of an act, throughout their career, by fans in massive numbers. Whereas being cruel, or taking success or good fortune for granted, can lead to fans noticing and dismissing or speaking against them to large amounts of people, and that’s not good for the long term existence of an act. Furthermore, if you LIKE someone you met in the act you saw, you’ll support them for the long haul. This stands true for a lot of fans. So the smart musicians always do their best to make their best impression as they represent their business, their brand, and their future, with any fan they meet. That future becoming a long term one that’s successful, is in the fate of their own actions, with their creative output, successful writing, recording, mixing and mastering of any music, the success of their album sales, or single sales, streaming results, playlist success, pay to management, promotion, and marketing to all parties expecting monies, and touring success, all being key. Touring success which in addition to sold tickets, sold merch, and sold alcohol, food and parking spots, most definitely includes their interactions or impressions made on their fans. All these cards must be played right.
Some acts rely on having a lot of openers, and using their song in the studio over the speakers to aid them greatly, in their performance. This doesn’t necessarily mean this acts sucks, though it’s a sign they are not the greatest. It’s definitely a weakness, in terms of a live performance.
Most of the acts of a music festival will show and play as scheduled, though a general rule of thumb in your mind should be, “SOMEONE will cancel. Who though?” If you’re lucky, no act will!
Music Festivals have weakened in depth. Compare music festivals from before 2010, then 2010 up to about 2014. Compare that to 2014 and onward, when looking at past Bonnaroo lineups, past Lollapalooza lineups, past Coachella lineups, past Boston Calling lineups, etc. Would also suggest past Glastonbury lineups, past Rock Werchter lineups & past Splendour In The Grass lineups, though this problem is perhaps not global, though is definitely U.S based. The reason music festival lineups have weakened in depth, is because more music festivals have emerged. Thus the talent is more spread out. Furthermore, with people trying to attend more festivals total in a year, they’re not spending as much money at each festival. Some festivals, therefore, are not doing as excellent with ticket sales, merch sales and food and alcohol sales, and thus that combined with paying everyone involved with the fest (all employees, management and the acts playing), come out of it not so financially better than before, and thus book a slightly weaker lineup by year. Some have even become territorial with the emergence of other fests. There’s more to it than just what’s stated in this paragraph, though that details part of the problem of this new reality of fests.
Some acts are not actually playing their instruments when you see them live. This is most likely going to be a reality, if you go to a lot of Pop shows. To see a POP STAR. You know the non-famous guy that you don’t give a crud about, and who you’re not looking at, and who’s on the stage with the star you’re looking at, who you came to see? That’s whose ACTUALLY playing the instrument. Many thank yous to all those musicians for what they do.
Most of the ultra famous musicians that are Pop, or even aren’t Pop but are mainstream enough to be labeled Pop by someone, are probably NOT writing ALL their songs. They get help. Rappers too. Have additional writers, separate from themselves. Ghostwriters. etc.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band are the best band specifically at having not so good music, for studio albums and for songs on those studio albums, and then taking those not above average songs and albums, and transforming them, into literally, songs that sound good live AND into an overall result of, this is you seeing ONE OF THE BEST LIVE ACTS YOU’LL EVER SEE in your life. REGARDLESS of whether you like his music or not. The Boss, BRINGS IT. He’s pushing 70 and still performing 4 hour sets without a need for an opener. Incredible. And bringing out a hometown hero musician of whatever city that musician and you live in when you see him in your city. He’s a legend worthy of all the praise he receives, and of all the success he has. A live set to make a top priority, whether you’re a fan or not. He’s not one to miss in concert.
Radiohead, literally are as good as all the critics, and huge fanboys rave them to be. Sophisticated albums and complex songs, that take serious peeling, before one is able to sink their teeth into, their fruit, which does indeed turn out to be juicy and delicious. It takes time to unravel before you. If you don’t give it proper nurturing, like something in your garden, you won’t get it. Won’t understand. Won’t connect with it. All this stands true with Arcade Fire too. All their albums, minus the new one. Plus both bands live sets are always excellent.
Nine Inch Nails are one of the best live acts of all time.
Royal Blood are sort of following the footsteps of The White Stripes: playing garage rock, as a twosome, with strong writing and polished sound, though their core duo has differing instrumentation as their primary function, all of which Jack and Meg would likely approve.
There is some merit to not having respect for acts that are just a macbook and equipment in contrast to an act that ACTUALLY PLAYS instruments, and ACTUALLY sings. The latter is more valuable. However, the former tends to be the more fun concert to attend. So both sides/genres will always win.
3 acts that really stick out in terms of how smart they are lyrically: Interpol, Nas & Radiohead.
Omar Souleyman is a former wedding singer, where he’s put out hundreds of albums, though mostly all just to the wedding couple only. He’s a unique live act.
Pretty Lights is one of the best EDM live acts still touring today. Absolutely insane lightshows and soul samples.
Stevie Wonder is a force to be reckoned with, live. He plays 3 hour sets, changes his sets, and he talks to his audience genuinely and delicately.
SuperDuper Kyle might be the next Childish Gambino. His live set certainly airs the possiblity. So does his new album.
If you go see Kanye, he most likely WILL bring it. As he did at Summerfest in 2011. Though HE WILL rant for a good 15 to 45 minutes at your set.
Some of the absolute best classic rock live acts, you can still see today are: The Rolling Stones Paul McCartney, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band & U2.
Musicians seen who are now dead: Merle Haggard, Walter Becker of Steely Dan, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, & Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
Rock N’ Roll is NOT Dead. It never died. It just experiences losses. Those of you who think “it died after [insert favorite bands here], dissolved”, you ARE NOT CORRECT, all respect intended to you. Rock N’ Roll has been alive every decade, whether you prefer the 60s & 70s of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, etc, or whether you prefer the 80’s of Metallica, Poison, Sonic Youth, etc. Or The 90’s of Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Rollins Band, Green Day, Oasis, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. Or the 2000’s of The White Stripes, The Strokes, Muse, Kasabian, or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, or the 2010s of The Strypes, Cage The Elephant, Royal Blood, Black Pistol Fire, Greta Van Fleet or Jake Bugg, is completely your personal preference. And that’s completely okay. But Rock N Roll has always STAYED ALIVE. It’s just had big losses to it, which put it through grief. Though one experiences grief, when ALIVE.
Long live, Live Music & Live Stand-Up Comedy!