Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Show Recap: Jay-Z @ Pepsi Center

Yes! Last night Kassie, Isaac and I went down to the Pepsi Center in Denver to catch the Blue Print 3 tour featuring Jay-Z and Young Jeezy. We weren’t interested in the opening acts, STS9 or Trey Songz, so we arrived about 830p, anticipating Jay-Z going on at 9p. We got there about half-way through Trey Songz, and we were glad we missed most of his set, and after we regained our seats from some poachers, we sat back and started to get excited.

We had really good seats, Row 1 of the upper deck, side stage, so our view was never obstructed and we got to put our feet up comfortably. A countdown clock appeared on the big screen letting us know that the show was starting in 10 minutes. When the timer hit 0:00 the lights dimmed and intro music for Run This Town started. Jay-Z rose up out of the stage and it was on!

The energy for the opener was amazing, Run This Town was crazy with the whole building standing and singing along. Jay-Z was supported by a full band; 2 drummers, a guitarist, keyboards, horn section, and his DJ. The sound was so loud, but still clear and you could hear most of the pieces of the band pretty well. After Run This Town Jay went right into On To The Next One and then D.O.A. (Death of Auto-tune). The hits just kept coming.

After DOA, Jay introduced Memphis Bleek and for the rest of the night either Bleek or Young Jeezy was alongside Jigga-man. They started off with U Don’t Know, then 99 Problems and Show Me What You Got. From there Jay just started pumping out songs, which is great because with so many albums out now it’s almost like any song he does is a hit. The best of that group was Public Service Announcement, it had so much energy, it’s such a great song. Bleek left after that song and Trey Songz showed up to sing the hook for Heart of the City and help with Already Home.

After Trey Songz left, Bridget Kelly came about to sing Alicia Key’s part on Empire State of Mind. This song was amazing, and Bridget’s voice was great. Jay was switching up lyrics all night, for example, “I make that Yankee Jacket more famous than a Yankee can…” as he pointed out a dude in the crowd. After this song Young Jeezy came out to help with Real As I Gets.

From there Jay-Z left the stage for Young Jeezy’s set, about 30 minutes long.

I’m not a fan of Jeezy, and his performance definitely didn’t change that, cliché thug rap. You could really tell a contrast between Jeezy and Jay, and the clarity of their vocals, Jay-Z really speaks clearly for a rapper!

After about 30 minutes Jay-Z showed up again, and they both sang My President (is black) which was a little awkward for us white folk! Anyway, everyone loved that, and as the song ended a clip of President Obama was played on the big screen, the clip where he dusts off his shoulders, a prelude into Dirt Off Your Shoulder, reinvigorating the crowd.

After that Jay went into a medley of verses from songs he’s featured on, like Swagga Like Us and Bonnie & Clyde. From there he played some old stuff from Reasonable Doubt and other older albums. Just when I was starting to get dis-interested Jay busted into 3 of his most famous hits; Can I Get A … / Big Pimpin’ / Hard Knock Life. For Big Pimpin’ he instructed the crowd to wave their towels / shirts which made for a pretty sweet visual effect. Then for Hard Knock Life the music was cut out several times to let the crowd sing the hook, there are reasons why we in the crowd are fans and not singers, and our section was exceptionally horrible at singing!

For the end of the show Jay-Z played a jazzy version of Thank You, very toned down, and pretty genuine sounding as he thanked everyone for coming out. As the song played out Jay begin pointing out people in the crowd, commenting (positive) on their cool shirts or hats. He pointed people out the entire arena, upper level and lower, getting really close to getting our group on the screen (we would have been the only 3 people in the place still sitting down, and I didn’t want to be called out by Jay-Z!). It was a cool way to bridge the show to the encore, especially since I’m not a fan of the PLANNED exit from stage then return for encore.

After about 10 minutes of crowd appreciation, Jay-Z played the most fitting song for his encore, Encore. I really love this song and it was a great way to end the night on a high note!

Probably one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, great sound and a solid set. At first I was a little nervous about his 2 hour set, thinking Kassie might lose interest like she has at other shows I’ve dragged her to (she fell asleep at AFI and Anberlin) but she had a great time all the way through!

Show Me What You Got:

Jay-Z - Big Pimpin'

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Song Rating: David Crowder - Church Music

David Crowder*Band - Church Music

worship / Christian / rock

Church Music is the fifth full-length studio album by David Crowder Band recorded for sixstepsrecords, released September 22, 2009. It reached #1 on the Billboard Christian albums chart, and debuted at #11 on the Billboard 200.

  1. "Phos Hilaron [Hail Gladdening Light]" - ***
  2. "Alleluia, Sing" - ****
  3. "The Nearness" - ***
  4. "Shadows" - ****
  5. "Eastern Hymn" - ***
  6. "SMS (Shine)" - *****
  7. "The Veil" - ****
  8. "We Are Loved" - ****
  9. "All Around Me" (Flyleaf cover) - ***
  10. "How He Loves" (John Mark McMillan cover) - ****
  11. "Can I Lie Here" - ***
  12. "Birmingham (We Are Safe)" - ***
  13. "Church Music - Dance [!]" - ***
  14. "What A Miracle" - ***
  15. "Oh, Happiness" - ***
  16. "God Almighty, None Compares" - *****
  17. "In The End [O Resplendent Light!]" - ***

I don't really like this album all that much, i actually listed it as one of my most disappointing albums of 2009, and after further review i still don't really like it much. Crowder is very creative, but sometimes he gets too gimmicky. I like the more simple songs that Crowder has written, the worship songs and this album really lacks those. This record is too dance/pop for me, the drum beats are pointless here, BWack is an incredible musician but his talent seems to be replaced with electric drums.

*****(5) great song, best on album, awesome
****(4) good song, better than most
***(3) average, filler, not memorable
**(2) intro, skit, interlude
*(1) bad, remove from ipod

Friday, March 5, 2010

Song Rating: Kid Cudi - Man On The Moon

Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon

rap / hip-hop

Man on the Moon: The End of Day is a concept album and the debut by Cleveland alternative hip hop artist Kid Cudi, released on September 15, 2009 on GOOD Music. -wikipedia

  1. In My Dreams ***
  2. 2. Soundtrack To My Life ****
  3. Simple As… ***
  4. Solo Dolo (Nightmare) ****
  5. Heart of a Lion ****
  6. My World ***
  7. Day ‘n’ Night *****
  8. Sky Might Fall ****
  9. Enter Galactic *****
  10. Alive ****
  11. Cudi Zone ***
  12. Make Her Say *
  13. Pursuit of Happiness ***
  14. Hyyerr ***
  15. Up Up & Away ****

I did not like this album at first, but i kept listening to it in my car and now its the album i go to when i want some chill rap/hip-hop. A lot of story telling and a great vibe with the music, not your typical cheap sounding beats. The lyrics can be a little vulgar at times, but for the most part they're pretty good.

My system:

*****(5) great song, best on album, awesome
****(4) good song, better than most
***(3) average, filler, not memorable
**(2) intro, skit, interlude
*(1) bad, remove from ipod

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Song Ratings (Not Just Show Recaps) / Underoath

So for awhile i've tried to think of something else i could bring to this blog besides Show Recaps. I tried Album Reviews a few times but i really don't bring anything new to the table, plus i fail to dissect an album at the level that actually brings new information to anyone. I have random questions or ideas here and there but not often enough.

So here's my new idea, i'm going to start posting quick Album Ratings for the different albums i listen to. I'm one of the few people who actually use the star-rating system in iTunes, i use it a lot. I listen through an album a few times and then i start applying my rating system to it, so that i can come back and either put the better songs into playlists or mixtapes, and take the bad songs off my ipod. I've used the same system for years so i have plenty of music rated, and i often fill my little shuffle with music from my Top Rated playlist, all good stuff!

Anyway, i'll post the album, maybe a little info, the tracks and my ratings for each track (1-5 stars) then maybe a little recap. i'd love to discuss any album with anyone, or tracks, why or why not they're good or bad. I show an example here of an album that most of my readers have probably listened to, but i'll do albums from all genre's, and i'm no expert, its more of my personal opinion of the music.

I recommend rating your songs too, an easy place to start is with samplers / compilations like the PASTE Magazine sampler. listen through the sampler and give a 4/5-star rating for songs you like, then a 3 for everything else. now you have a few tracks/artists to check out and the rest of the stuff you can take off your ipod (or leave it there for "filler"!).

My system:

*****(5) great song, best on album, awesome
****(4) good song, better than most
***(3) average, filler, not memorable
**(2) intro, skit, interlude
*(1) bad, remove from ipod

so with that, here's how i rated underOATH's Only Chasing Safety:

metal / scremo / Christian

1. Young and Aspiring - *****
2. Boy Brushed Red - ****
3. Impact of Reason - ****
4. reinventing your exit - *****
5. bluenote **
6. Dangerous Business - *****
7. Down Set Go - *****
8. i don't feel receptive - ***
9. i'm content ***
10. some will seek **

This was UnderOATH's fourth album, but their 1st with the current lineup they have now. It was also my first experience with(Christian) metalcore and forever changed the way i listen to metal and hardcore. The album starts off amazing with the first 4 songs, but starts to fade a little after that. overall i love most of this album.