Friday, April 29, 2011

Hip Hop Shows Are Fun

After about a decade of playing and writing about rock shows, I'm still fairly new to the world of live hip hop. This month, I got to review both Ice Cube and Mos Def for The Oregonian.

The crowds at these shows make rock audiences look really square. There is so much movement and enthusiasm. One friend of mine said she saw people "practically having sex on the dance floor" at Mos Def. While I didn't see anything that extreme, I did see folks all the way up to the balcony standing, dancing and being rowdy for both of these shows.

Mos Def killed it by the way. Absolutely killed it. He did the new song in the video above. He has such showmanship, and man, can I get down with that. So many bands that essentially just stand and play their songs could learn so much from him, running around, dancing, improvising, talking, making jokes...What a show. The fact that he agreed to an interview with me and then backed out after I waited around couldn't even begin to sour me on it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rise Against the Dissent of Man

Greg Hetson
I saw Bad Religion three times in 2002. They've hardly aged in the last 9 years. Seeing them open for Rise Against this week at the Rose Garden was a relaxed and enjoyable experience as detailed in this review for The Oregonian. It also helps that I like their new album, Dissent of Man.

Rise Against was pretty much new to me for this assignment. I liked how well their attitude fits the pop-punk genre. So many pop-punk bands are into making fart jokes on stage and pretty much being bros, that they've all but killed it for me. Then there's Anti-Flag who is way too on the nose. Rise Against has a subdued quality that I've enjoyed in bands like Dillinger 4.

Here are some more photos I took. The above is Bad Religion's Greg Hetson. I definitely had to stop myself a couple of times from singing along with Bad Religion while shooting these. Gotta maintain some professionalism. Although after interviewing Greg Graffin last time he was in town, I was surprisingly not star struck standing just below the band as they played. At least this time I didn't get kicked in the head by crowd surfers like I did when I fought to the front of the Roseland Theater as a teenager. But I digress.

Greg Graffin
Greg Graffin
Jay and Brooks
Jay Bentley and Brooks Wackerman

Tim McIlroth
Tim McIlroth
Tim McIlroth of Rise Against