Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular @ The Wellmont Theatre 3/14/14

Read the Montclair Times version here.

The balcony of the Wellmont Theater was practically barren on Friday March 14.  The 80 or so people who happened to be sitting there were dispersed across its bottom half, while a couple made out in the dimly lit top row.  It was hard to sense any excitement or anticipation before the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular began; it seemed as if the show was everyone’s Plan B for their other cancelled Friday plans.  When the lights dimmed at around 8:10, though, the spectators were immediately drawn in.


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For over 25 years, San Antonio’s Steve Monistere has been producing the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular, which is billed as the “world’s longest touring theater show in history”.  Projecting colossal laser visuals alongside the psychedelic music of Pink Floyd, it’s been viewed by over 3,000,000 people in the United States.


The first half of the show was dedicated to the songs of Dark Side Of The Moon.  Footage of The Wizard Of Oz was played alongside classic tracks like “Breathe” and “The Great Gig In The Sky.”  This film was chosen for accompaniment because of the Dark Side Of The Rainbow theory, which says Dark Side Of The Moon synchronizes perfectly with The Wizard Of Oz (learn more about the theory and other Pink Floyd conspiracies here).


Along with The Wizard Of Oz, there were some pretty out-there visuals, like a laser version of a woman in a revealing dress playing the saxophone (I heard some wisebone belt out a “Hubba, hubba!” every time she appeared).  There were even flying naked boys that looked a lot like Bobby Hill from King Of The Hill.  However, some images were pretty obvious, like cash registers and dollar signs being projected during - you guessed it - “Money.”


After a brief 15-minute intermission, the second half of the show began.  It featured material from Pink Floyd’s concept album The Wall.  There was footage of the album’s cinematic adaptation and more predictable laser images, like bricks and mean teachers during - drum roll please - “Another Brick In The Wall.”  For the finale, a wacky waving inflatable tube man shot up from the center of the stage, as multi-colored lights and lasers shined in every direction.  You’d think that a grand, mind-blowing laser display would be the climax of a Laser Spectacular, not that thing in front of the Price Buster furniture store on Route 46.


Although some of the visuals were cheesy and the ending was kind of a bummer, the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular was technologically very intricate and abstract.  I loved the rainbow-themed lasers and the artificial ocean that was cast over the audience members in the orchestra pit.  Along with the lasers, I also enjoyed hearing Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” during intermission.


So if your dinner plans are cancelled, no one’s throwing any parties, or you don’t feel like watching season 2 of House of Cards again, I recommend that you see the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular when it comes to a town near you.  Even though it was corny at times, you’ll get to experience the music of one of your favorite classic rock bands blended with an outstanding laser extravaganza.

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  • #lasers #trippy mane #more lasers #pink floyd
  • 3 weeks ago

Perfect Pussy Review

You like Pitchfork-approved punk rock?  Check out my review of Say Yes To Love by Perfect Pussy!

2014 is definitely gonna be the year of Perfect Pussy (lol, not like that), so get in on their buzz now.

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  • #buzzband #punk punk punk #girl lead singer
  • 1 month ago
  • 1

Why “Before Sunrise” Will Darken Your Valentine’s Day

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It’s February 14.  You’re snuggling with your special someone and trying to come up with the ideal Valentine’s Day film.  “How about Before Sunrise?” your partner suggests.  “I heard it’s great!”


If you don’t know of Before Sunrise, it’s a 1995 romantic drama directed by Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, School of Rock) about Jesse (Ethan Hawke), an American college student, and Celine (Julie Delpy), a French college student.  They meet and fall in love on a European train and spend one night together in Vienna, before Hawke has to return to the United States.  It’s  the first part in a trilogy of other Celine and Jesse tales (Before Sunset and Before Midnight follow).


Before Sunrise holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, is #3 on The Guardian’s “25 Best Romantic Films Of All Time”, and is #200 on Empire Magazine’s “500 Greatest Movies Of All Time”.  With all these outstanding accolades, you’d probably think that this is the perfect couples movie.  You find it on TV and are about to thumb the “Select” button on your remote, but wait.  Don’t do it.  So you don’t waste 100 valuable minutes of your life, let me tell you why you shouldn’t subject yourself to the merciless agony of Before Sunrise this Valentine’s Day.


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The film follows an uneventful plot that revolves around Jesse and Celine and their dull, self-involved conversations.  There aren’t any other important characters in Before Sunrise and there isn’t a hint of tension.  Also, the two are never in jeopardy or conflict and Linklater doesn’t reveal their flaws (assuming that they have any).  Because of this, character evolution wouldn’t have been attainable.


Jesse and Celine haven’t any obstacles, arguments, and/or issues.  Perfect people make me queasy; I definitely don’t want to see a whole movie about them.


What Before Sunrise successfully does is show how much of a navel-gazer Richard Linklater is.  Through the talks of Jesse and Celine, Linklater proudly shoves your face into his hempy philosophies and his poser intellectualism.


For instance, I wanted to knock the goatee right off of Ethan Hawke when I heard his over-the-top existential idea: “Now, if we all have our own, like, individual, unique soul, right, where do they all come from? Are modern souls only a fraction of the original souls? Because if they are, that represents a 5,000-to-1 split of each soul in just the last 50,000 years, which is like a blip in the earth’s time. You know, so, at best, we’re like these tiny fractions of people, you know, walking… I mean, is that why we’re all so scattered? You know, Is that why we’re all so specialized?”


Or while talking about divinity, my IQ slowly dripped out of my ears when I heard Celine ponder, “You know, I believe if there’s any kind of God, it wouldn’t be in any of us. Not you, or me… but just this little space in between. If there’s any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something(sigh). I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed, but… who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.”


As painful and stupid as these theories are, I’ll admit, they’re original.  However, a talented screenwriter doesn’t use cinema to show off his/her metaphysical wit; great cinema excites and captivates the audience.  The artsy fartsy, turtle-necked Jesse and the hippy-dippy, bland Celine are in no way captivating or exciting.  These two collegians would have one good use, though: their redundant, excruciating conversations on life and love would be an effective torture method for Al Qaeda suspects at Gitmo.

Entranced by Before Sunrise’s abstract-seeming and intelligent-sounding dialogue, critics believed that the movie was a masterpiece, disregarding the fact that it was a humdrum hour and 40 minutes of total pretension.  Don’t let these critic simpletons ill your Valentine’s Day by pressuring you to see Richard Linklater’s overhyped, cinematic let down.  Instead, try a classic romance with a great story, more than two people, and satisfying character development, like When Harry Met Sally…, Moonstruck, or Tootsie.


School Of Rock was really fun, A Scanner Darkly was technologically intriguing, and Dazed and Confused was a great 70’s encapsulation.  I appreciate Linklater’s work, but he isn’t good at writing romance.  Before Sunrise is absolute proof that he should avoid love stories, and you should absolutely avoid this movie.

 

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  • #overhyped #total trash #pretentious
  • 2 months ago

Best Of 2013

This year, the music world has seen the rise of promising, charismatic artists like Deafheaven and Chance The Rapper, and newcomers like Lorde and Disclosure.  We’ve even witnessed the returns of shoegaze legends My Bloody Valentine, popular EDM duo Daft Punk, speed metal vets Carcass, and beloved indie folkers Neutral Milk Hotel.

With 2013 soon coming to a close, I give you my first ever year-end lists as a music journalist:

Top 10 Albums -

1. Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze by Kurt Vile = KV is the king of transcendental rock.

2. R Plus Seven by Oneohtrix Point Never = The songs may just be collages of new wave keyboards and orgasmic moans, but if you look at the album wholistically, R Plus Seven flows like an ambient story, even if there aren’t any words.

3. Whenever If Ever by The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die = Atmospheric, emo bliss.

4. Sunbather by Deafheaven = The outcome of a Slowdive and Darkthrone gangbang.

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5. Return To Annihilation by Locrian = Moog metal at it’s finest.

6. Light Up Gold by Parquet Courts = My mom thought it was from the 60’s.

7. Surgical Steel by Carcass = Even though it’s been 15 years since their last album, Carcass is still merciless.

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8. Modern Vampires Of The City by Vampire Weekend = Their most daring release to date.

9.  Last Words by Last Words = Hardcore, lo-fi surf punk… or something like that.

10. King Of Dirt by Sick/Tired = Messy, raw, experimental grindage.  Yummy!

Top 10 Songs -

1. “Goldtone” by Kurt Vile = Why Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze is just soooooo good.

2. “Night Still Comes” by Neko Case = Never before have I heard a captivating lyric like, “Catch a falling star, but wash your hands of it”.  It shows how Neko Case never relies on overused love-themed metaphors and other cliches.

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3. “Heartbeat In The Brain” by The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die = I’ve already described this in my midpoint list; I ain’t tellin’ y’all again.

4. “Boat Rich” by Dads = This is Dads’ most pop-structured tune.  Although I love them, “Boat Rich” feels better than their usual structureless emo blasts.

5. “Red Eyes” by The War On Drugs = Heavy on the Petty (Tom Petty, that is).

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6. “Fragment Two” by These New Puritans = Did you hear the one about the post-punk collective that began making classical music?

7. “Reflektor” by Arcade Fire = How about the one where the stereotypical indie band made dance music?

8. “Dream House” by Deafheaven = I wrote about this, too.

9. “Stoned & Starving” by Parquet Courts = The title is self-explanatory.

10. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell & Nile Rodgers = Who the heck is Nile Rodgers and why does this song sound a lot like Chic?

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These almost-365 days have really rocked my world.  I’ve reveled in the year’s astounding musical masterpieces by artists like Kurt Vile, Deafheaven, and many others.  I can’t wait for 2014 with upcoming releases from You Blew It!, Interpol, and The Wrens.

Hope you make it safely into the new year, fellow rockers!

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  • #best of 2013 #year in review #eli zeger #rock and roll #free form jazz
  • 4 months ago
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Megadeth @ The Wellmont Theatre (11/29/13)

You can read a “fuck”-free version of the review @ The Montclair Times’ website.

Middle-aged, Harley-driving, chain smoker dudes; corporate fathers with their tolerant tween daughters; and roadies walking around and brushing their teeth.  These were just some of the characters you would’ve found at Megadeth’s headbanging Wellmont extravaganza this past Friday.

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Seeing Megadeth was reminiscent for me.  Back in 7th grade, I was obsessed with popular metal bands like Iron Maiden, Mastodon, and especially Megadeth.  When I found out that I had the opportunity to see them at the Wellmont, I heard a middle schooler Eli screaming with joy inside of me.

The audience was very diverse: ages ranged from middle schoolers to grandfathers, the racial mix was eclectic, and there were just as many Megadeth-loving women as there were men - proving that there’s no typical metalhead.  However, black clothing seemed almost mandatory for the concertgoers.  My multi-colored winter coat and my friend David’s maroon jacket illuminated us in a sea of dark attire.

Ft. Lauderdale’s Nonpoint opened the show.  Their conventional sound was like a cross between the safe modern rock of Shinedown and the flavorless nu metal of Limp Bizkit.  “The Truth”, their moist groove metal song that talks about fighting for what you truly believe in (how original), made me cringe.  Although lead singer Elias Soriano worked the crowd very well with interaction and stage movement, Nonpoint was way too generic for me.

Fear Factory went next and killed Soriano’s active vibe.  Frontman Burton Bell’s idea of crowd communication was to drop a “Fuck yeah!” at the end of each song, thinking he was energizing his audience.  Dino Cazares (guitar) and Matt DeVries (bass) awkwardly strutted across the stage from time to time, while they gouged on deeply tuned strings to notes that my perfect pitch couldn’t even determine.  It was a grueling half hour of what sounded like “chugga chugga chugga, fucka fucka fucka”.

Megadeth threw the two blasphemous openers into the trash.  For a band of former alcoholics and heroin addicts now in their fifties, they played with surprising agility and tightness.  They opened with their Rust In Peace classic “Hangar 18” and kept on thrashing for another twelve righteous songs, including an encore.  Everyone, including me, joined together to belt out the lyrics to hits like “Symphony Of Destruction” and “Peace Sells”.

There was a giant screen above the stage displaying band members, mostly lead man Dave Mustaine (vocals/rhythm guitar), as they played.  While Mustaine was taking a solo or singing, a cycle of cheesy, unrelated imagery accompanied him, including animated spinning chairs, moving clouds, and a barren playground swing.  Megadeth can totally rock, but their confusing graphic motifs were stupid.

For thirty years, Megadeth has been one of the biggest successes of metal music.  Alongside Slayer, Anthrax, and Metallica (collectively nicknamed “The Big Four”), they’ve innovated the style of thrash metal, a subgenre that combines lightning punk tempo with intricate guitar melodies.  After all this time, Megadeth still has as much power as younger thrash metal bands, like contemporary speed rockers Speedwolf and Midnight.

They will always rule the metal kingdom.

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  • #thrash #megadeth #yes i love metal #but that doesnt mean im subjectively a metalhead #the big four #thrashin #harley davidson
  • 4 months ago
  • 1

Five Reasons Why Urban Outfitters Is Disgusting

Warning - If curse words give you the creeps, read the censored version of this article over at Huffington Post.

With over 170 locations on Earth and revenue of over $2 billion, Urban Outfitters has become a popular store among those wanting to express a hip, edgy lifestyle.  UO stores that I’ve been to are two rustic floors of kitschy nick-nacks, retro and indie vinyl albums, trendy clothing, and “artsy” home furnishings.

At one point in my life, I thought Urban Outfitters was pretty neat-oh.  Over time, though, the vibe began to disgust me.  It was kind of unsettling to know that people were attracted to a place that sold “Have A Totes Amaze Balls Birthday” cards and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle glassware.  A little over a year after I made my first purchase from them, I came to one of the most important conclusions of my life:

Urban Outfitters sucks.

Ok, so they have Resevoir Dogs shirts, Sunn O))) and Sleep on vinyl, and a Bill Murray coloring book.  Urban Outfitters still sucks, and here’s why:


1. It’s Overpriced - While roaming around one of their stores, I came across an accessory that was, to put it in the most clear and simple terms, a bandana tied into the form of a headband.  I don’t believe this was some rare form of bandana or was sweated into by Grimes, but it cost $12.


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That’s like taking a Post-It, wrapping it around your finger like a ring, and calling it jewelry.  And then charging $12 for it.

On their online store, just so I could see if the prices could be even more bogus, there was a mundane (or what the smug art farts in the buying department would consider “minimalist”) shirt by the Obey clothing company with their logo in small font in the upper right corner and the logo of graffiti artist Cope2 on the back, going for $32.  That much for a dull, dark shirt?


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In the famous words of Jack Handey, “Forgive me, but that’s just too much.”

2. Unnecessary Profanity - Stocking Minor Threat shirts, Ramones posters, and Misfits vinyl wasn’t enough to show how punk and defiant Urban Outfitters was.  Along with selling punk items, some brilliant chode thought that putting an overwhelming amount of curse words on all the products would shoot them to the top of the rebellious charts.

Placing the phrase “Get Your Shit Together” in bold letters on the front of a notebook is just capricious.  And I don’t know anyone who would mail a “Holy. Fuck. Wow.” card; it seems as if they were made just to throw “fuck” around.

3. No Bathroom - The closest Urban Outfitters store to me, on Park Street in Montclair, NJ, has four dressing rooms, an elevator, and NO BATHROOM.  After I confirmed with a worker that they didn’t have a single restroom, she told me that I should instead go to the Starbucks nearby to do my business.

Four dressing rooms.  An elevator.  No bathroom.  Just let that sink in.  Would it be such a burden for Urban Outfitters to install at least a few toilets into their two-floor haven of all that is quirky?  I mean, where am I supposed to puke when I see the pitiful humans carrying bags full of eye roll-inducing Star Wars “Swag” Tees and ugly neon boat shoes?

4. Design Thieves - Tru.che, the Etsy store of indie jewelry designer Stevie K., stocks a series of necklaces dedicated to various states in the U.S. and countries from around the world.  Some designs include “I heart New York”, “I heart Israel”, and “I heart Washington”.

In 2011, Urban Outfitters released a jewelry series called “I Heart Destination Necklaces”.  It was an obvious rip-off, taking Stevie’s same necklace design - a state with a heart in it attached to a beaded chain - and adding her “I Heart” phrase to the title of the product.


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Along with Stevie, independent designer Johnny Cupcakes has also been ripped off by Urban Outfitters.  In 2004, Cupcakes released a red shirt sporting a picture of an airplane dropping cupcakes as if they were bombs.  A year later, as part of their “Urban Renewal” campaign, Urban Outfitters released a shirt with the same design idea, but just switched the colors around.

 

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Theft is way uncool, and it’s so wickedly lame for Urban Outfitters to steal from these rad indie designers.

5. Lana Del Rey Vinyl - I do appreciate some of the stuff Urban Outfitters sells; mainly their vinyl.  Their collection includes My Bloody Valentine’s mbv, Death Grips’ Money Store, and even Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue.  However, along with selling Babel and Sigh No More by the wimpy unoriginal folkers Mumford & Sons, the music of one artist is leaving the most abominating dump all over Urban Outfitters’ record collection: Lana Del Rey.  Popular for musical devastations like “Summertime Sadness” and “Blue Jeans”, this internet-famous diva who sounds like Lili Von Shtupp after a stroke has become the hero of fake-intellected Tumblr girls everywhere.  Because these girls are some of Urban Outfitters’ most loyal customers, it would make sense to stock Lana Del Rey for their benefit, but not on a musical format that they don’t have the ability to play, or even know exists.

Fashion is always changing, and Urban Outfitters is known for being at the emergence of new and hot styles.  I’m a fan of cool, unconventional clothing, but if that means I have to find it at a place where there are grunge girls wearing short-shorts that chafe their butts into bleeding pancakes and other loathable lemmings enrapturing over the marked-up attire and bland Smiths song blasting through the speakers, I’d rather just wear my cousins’ decaying hand-me-downs.

 

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  • #bashing the grungy #edgy my ass #urban outfitters sucks #urban outfitters
  • 6 months ago
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Eli’s Unusual Taste In Movie Songs

A movie can have great acting, a captivating story, and grandiloquent production, but it wouldn’t be as powerful without a great soundtrack.  Here’s a list of my favorite songs from films I love:


  • “The Office” by Michael Kamen in Brazil- It’s not even 2 minutes long, but the vibraphone and violin sweeps are so palatial, yet groovy at the same time.  Not only was it in one of my favorite dystopian movies, but was also in the trailer for Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman’s Being John Malkovich, which makes me love the song even more.

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  • #movies #i like film #weird songs from film #weird songs overall #and some songs that aren't weird too
  • 7 months ago

Favorite Songs Of 2013 So Far

With only a few more weeks until summer, here’s a list some of my favorite tunes from 2013 so far, in no particular order (cuz i just roll like dat):


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  • #summer 2013 #best of #so far
  • 10 months ago
  • 1

5 Modern Folk Acts That Are Worth Checking Out and Aren’t Mumford & Sons

They’ve won Grammys, they’ve appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone, and their albums have gone multi-platinum in the U.S.  With all this success, there’s no doubt that Mumford & Sons are currently the most popular folk band in the world.

Although the Mumford & Sons craze is huge, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to other folk acts if you enjoy the genre.  Here’s a list of five modern folk artists that are less popular than, but just as appealing as, Mumford & Sons.

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The Mountain Goats: Since their first album in 1994 Zopilote Machine, The Mountain Goats have gained a cult following and top tier critical praise.  They’re known for their blend of energetic, acoustic instrumentations and poetic lyrics.  Recently, fans started a petition to name John Darnielle, The Mountain Goats’ chief member, as the U.S. poet laureate.

Check out: “No Children”, “Cry For Judas”, “Sax Rohmer #1

Mount Eerie: Mount Eerie, the project of indie folk hero Phil Elverum, is the aftermath of his influential band The Microphones.  Like their predecessor, Mount Eerie combines the sweetness and simplicity of acoustic folk with the swirling, soothing melodies of dream pop.

Check Out: “Wooly Mammoth’s Absence”, “The Place Lives”, “Yawning Sky

Sufjan Stevens: In 2005, Stevens embarked on a “Fifty States Project” in which he planned to make an album for every U.S. state.  The experiment, he realized, was too complex, and it ended with the second album in the series Illinois.  The album is considered to be one of the best of the past decade by reviewers at Paste Magazine and Pitchfork.  It has also sold over 300,000 copies in the United States alone.  His sound has been compared to folk legend Elliott Smith, and has influences of electronic and classical music.

Check Out: “Romulus”, “Come On Feel The Illinoise”, “Year Of The Tiger

Defiance, Ohio: Combining acoustic instrumentations with beautiful string arrangements and aggressive anti-government lyrics, Defiance, Ohio are easily one of today’s best folk punk bands.  In true punk style, Defiance, Ohio has also made their entire discography free for downloading off their website.

Check Out: “The List”, “Hairpool”, “Oh Susquehanna

The Magnetic Fields: Since their first single in 1991 entitled “100,000 Fireflies”, The Magnetic Fields have been gracing the world with beautiful folk songs, incorporating everything from drum machines to ukuleles.  Their three disc epic 69 Love Songs is considered to be their greatest musical work and is even on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list.

Check Out: “Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing”, “Quick!”, “All My Little Words

For fans of Mumford & Sons who are into indie folk, these five artists are definitely worth listening to.

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  • #folky #notmumfordandsons
  • 11 months ago
  • 3

Reincarnation of My Bloody Valentine

At 8 p.m. on February 2, My Bloody Valentine became popular in the mainstream for being the band with the big website crash.

Forget the news about Justin Bieber’s Ferrari getting pulled over in L.A.- My Bloody Valentine was the big story of the night.

It all began at around 6:30 p.m. when the band released their first album in over twenty years, entitled “MBV”, on their website.  This development excited fans across the world and triggered a rush of thousands to go on the website simultaneously, making it crash.  The story of the crash became popular on websites like Google News and Twitter, but there’s more to My Bloody Valentine than this event.

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In the late eighties and early nineties, the Irish band My Bloody Valentine pioneered a genre of music called “shoe-gaze”.  Their combination of distorted guitars and elements of dream pop has influenced contemporary artists such as France’s M83 (“Midnight City”, top ten Billboard rock hit), and Iceland’s Sigur Ros (“Hoppipolla”, featured in the films “Slumdog Millionare” and “We Bought A Zoo”).

My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 album “Loveless” is considered to be their most influential and critically acclaimed release.  It’s listed in Mojo Magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitar Albums”, and is ranked at #221 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums Of All Time”.

The band will be touring throughout the United Kingdom and will be headlining festivals like Primavera Sound in Barcelona and Tokyo Rocks Festival in Japan.

My Bloody Valentine recorded “MBV” on analog equipment (as opposed to digital technology), giving it the vintage 90s sound that thrilled their original fans.  Key tracks include “She Found Now”, “Who Sees You”, and “Wonder 2”.  The album is available on Mybloodyvalentine.org (don’t worry about any crashes, it’s been fixed).

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  • #mybloodyvalentine #mbv #loveless
  • 1 year ago
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