Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Monday, Sep 29, 2014
Almost 50,000 people gathered in Central Park for the 3rd Annual Global Citizen Festival, a star-studded affair that draws attention to extreme poverty with world leaders pledging funds for relief.

The scope of the Global Citizen Festival remains the same as it did for the prior two iterations, to mitigate extreme poverty worldwide though this year the organizers directed additional attention to the subjects of vaccines, education and sanitation. Regarding sanitation, there was a lot of attention directed towards open defecation, a huge issue in India in particular. Amongst the global leaders in attendance (as the festival is timed to coincide with world leaders being in New York for the U.N. Global Summit) was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi had been implicated as one of the instigators of religious violence against Muslims (by Hindus) in Gujurat in 2002 where he was Chief Minister at the time. And he hadn’t been permitted to enter the United States from that point on, until he became elected Prime Minister in 2014 so he was given a moment at the festival to pledge that Indians citizens will have access to toilets by 2019. Other world leaders were present, including Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who pledged over $1.2 billion towards vaccinations worldwide over the next several years, and some NGO leaders including World Bank President Jim Kim and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.


But for many of nearly 50,000 people in attendance at the six hour event, including one girl who drove up from Tennessee, the primary attraction was not actor Hugh Jackman introducing Ban Ki-Moon or Olivia Wilde talking about her recent charitable endeavors, but the powerful and diverse line-up of musicians. Via an online lottery, for which people earned entries by completing socially conscious activities, the lucky people in attendance got to see performances from Jay Z and Beyonce, No Doubt (their first show in a couple of years) do a set with Sting guesting for one song, Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys with Idan Raichel, The Roots and more. The concert was available as a stream online or live on MSNBC (with noticeable delay) for those that couldn’t go, but given the opportunity to be out on Central Park on a lovely summery day, Global Citizen Festival was a perfect outing… if you could get in (VIP ticket holders complained of long lines). It may be hard to determine what the attendees’ motives were but if they were genuine, but if even a small percentage of them feel urged to donate, or be more socially active that is a good start.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, Sep 26, 2014
The first night of Robert Plant's tour with his new band the Sensational Space Shifters, which included new material and Led Zeppelin classics, proved how apt their moniker is.

Led Zeppelin’s blues and rock songs were steeped in mysticism. And their lead vocalist, Robert Plant has put out many albums since that group split, with perhaps the most successful being the much-lauded Raising Sand, a collaboration of Americana and folk covers done with Alison Krauss. This year, Plant is back with an excitingly dubbed new band, The Sensational Space Shifters and with their backing, he stretches the sonic palette he has working with for decades. And their first album, lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, is a wonderous and delightful amalgamation of Appalachian folk and North African and Eastern sonics that will prove as timeless as anything he’s done before. The Space Shifters include Juldeh Camara on unique instruments, the kologo, which is similar to a banjo and a ritti that is played with a bow, both Justin Adams and Liam “Skin” Tyson on guitars, John Baggot on keyboards and synths, Billy Fuller on bass and Dave Smith on drums.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Sep 25, 2014
Bahamas does more than keep the summer vibes alive, he gives you the opportunity to dance by the fire.

Canadian musician Afie Jurvanen, aka Bahamas, is a regular in the social scene / musical circles of his country and has a loyal following in these United States. If considering his self-appointed moniker, the sunny islands of the Bahamas might not be the first connection you make when you think of a musician from Canada. However the music Jurvanen creates is far more evocative of ocean-side bonfires and hot, sunny days with its easy going tunes than anything else. It is also fitting that Bahamas has signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records for the release of his third album, Bahamas is Afie, for which he is currently touring to support with fellow Canadian Tamara Hope (The Weather Station) opening for him (and him sitting in on drums for her).


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Monday, Sep 22, 2014
When Tits of Clay, the fictional band in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, put on a real performance, Hedheads wig out.

As the Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch was coming together, then-titular-star Neil Patrick Harris and the musicians/actors cast to be his backing band performed a live gig at Rockwood Music Hall for an intimate crowd. Since then, the members of that backing band, Tits of Clay, have decided to become a real band as their time permits. With Harris and / or other special Hedwig guests, the band has played a few late-nights shows at the Mercury Lounge, post-Hedwig performance. The most recent was September 4th and, despite the 11:59 pm start time, the show sold out with the line of people waiting to get in going around the corner. Most of these folks would be considered Hedheads and they could have heard of the show from a tweet from NPH, implying he might be there. But though they might have come to hear Hedwig showtunes, those same fans may be surprised to hear Tits of Clay do an almost entirely punk set.


The Tits’ members attire and hair certainly would have given that away though and The New Yorker wrote up a good description of them, “Justin Craig (guitar, keyboards, vocals), the music director, who has a Pete Townshend nose and a prettified Nigel Tufnel hairstyle; Matt Duncan (bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals), who has short emerald-green hair and a macho black mustache; Tim Mislock (guitar, vocals), who has asymmetrical blond hair, like a half-buzzed Leif Garrett; Peter Yanowitz (drums, vocals), with crimson hair, on drums. They combine the look of old-school glam and punk with the one thing the genre currently lacks: youth.”


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Sep 18, 2014
Spoon's excellent live show at Central Park's Rumsey Playfield (aka Summerstage) came near the heels of their late-Summer They Want My Soul tour.

I hadn’t seen the band Spoon since last year’s Governors Ball Festival but they finally came back around to the area for a proper show at Rumsey Playfield (aka Summerstage though that City Parks Foundation series is over) in Central Park. The band are touring on the back of their latest album They Want My Soul and this performance showed the audience how consistently good they are (as our critic Matthew Fiander wrote, “This is another very good Spoon record, but it’s not the same as any other Spoon record. It is also a record that, in the ways it continues and twists the band’s sound, reminds us that Spoon put in a lot of work to find their sound.”) and how cohesive all of Spoon’s material sounds together.


The Village Voice had noted that, “Got Nuffin” roars onstage as much as it did when it was new, but what really stood out was how seamlessly the new songs have already woven their way into the set. “New York Kiss” got a huge cheer when it began, because of course/why not. “Rent I Pay,” in particular, already came off like a classic Spoon song.” And it was with “Knock Knock Knock” and “Rent I Pay” that Spoon had kicked things off on the lovely late-Summer evening. The band was in fine form throughout the night and, except for Britt Daniel, quite often in the shadows, with their silhouettes cast upon screens around the stage. Before their conclusion, Spoon performed the dark and dancey, “I Turn My Camera On”, which is one of my favorites and then included another of my favorites, “You Got Yr Cherry Bomb” in their finale.


Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.