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by Chris Colgan

17 Mar 2010


The band Behemoth has always been blatant in their views about religion. All of their albums are pervaded with anti-religious and pro-Satanic lyrics, themes, and images. The band’s live shows are also filled with similar ideology, as frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski can’t go more than ten minutes without shouting some anti-Christian epithet that gets the crowd roaring. This has always been a risk for the Polish blackened death metal stars, since many areas of the world—including their own home country—protect the religious views of citizens under law. Behemoth experienced this firsthand when Ryszard Nowak, head of the All-Polish Committee for Defense Against Sects, attempted to sue the band in 2008 for tearing up a Bible onstage at a September 2007 concert in the city of Gdynia. In Poland, it is a criminal offense to offend a person’s religious beliefs, but in order for someone to be charged with such an offense, at least two complaints need to be filed. So the case was dismissed at that time. However, on Monday, March 8th, the case was re-opened and Nergal was formally charged after an unspecified number of other complaints were filed for the Bible-tearing incident. Nergal is pleading not guilty, but if found guilty, he will face up to two years of prison time.

The knee-jerk reactions of the metal community were predictable. Metal fans immediately cried foul, insisting that Nergal’s actions were protected free speech. A number of metal news websites began publishing stories decrying Poland’s laws as archaic and intolerant. Nergal’s own testimony under cross examination in the case’s first hearing was that his actions onstage are part of artistic license and not meant to offend religious beliefs.

by Chris Catania

16 Mar 2010


Back in December, AEG Live, Action 3D and Cinedigm released Larger Than Life in 3D. The 90-minute theatrical concert movie featured performances from Dave Mathews, Ben Harper and Gogol Bordello from the 2009 Austin City Limits Festival. It was a limited one-week run to test out a new kind of theatrical concert experience filmed and presented in full 3D HD. Did it successfully usher in a brand new bread of concert film or did it’s lack of cinematic storytelling rock fans to sleep?

Larger Than Life was the first of several other 3D theatrical concerts AEG Live plans to release in 2010. When I heard the news last fall I thought that they had captured footage from 2009 music festivals like Lollapalooza, All Points West and Mile High Music Festival, I thought about all the ways this could revolutionize how we relive our favorite concerts experiences, or even influence what we expect from real live concerts. I initially considered it a move that would forever change the art of the concert film, too. I also wondered if Larger Than Life would be an improvement on the U2, Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus or even the Micheal Jackson This Is It IMAX concert experiences.

by PC Muñoz

15 Mar 2010


“Lovesong” - The Cure
Lyrics by Robert Smith
Music by Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Porl Thompson, Roger O’Donnell, and Laurence Tolhurst
From Disintegration, Elektra Records, 1989

An earlier edit of this V-C-V was first published December 6, 2005 on pcmunoz.com

I’m the first to admit that I was quite the funky-come-lately when it comes to The Cure. When they first came to my attention in the early ‘80s, I was too knee deep in funk and early hip-hop to give them much of an ear, even though I definitely dug Gary Numan, Lene Lovich, and other darkish new-wavey types who were flirting with the funk/dance rhythms of the day.

The Cure’s absence from my collection doesn’t mean I wasn’t aware of why the group was popular, or what Smith was all about. I had heard their more popular songs all over the place, and as a young musician, I made a habit of reading all of the interviews in the music magazines I purchased, whether or not I was a fan of the interviewee. Over the years, I found that I always enjoyed reading interviews with Robert Smith, though I still resisted picking up the albums, for some reason. They became one of those bands whom I respected by default, but never really investigated.

by Evan Sawdey

15 Mar 2010


When playing Patrick & Eugene’s debut album for the first time, get ready to raise some eyebrows.  It starts with a simple ukelele melody, followed by some sweet vocals, then a thumping dance beat, a horn section, and next thing you know ... you’re probably dancing to it (and that’s all before the saxophones and whistles come in). 

Yes, Patrick & Eugene’s style is a bit off-beat, but the UK band makes no apologies for their relentlessly optimistic music, and this might explain why the duo has done as well as they have, with their debut album Birds, Bees, Flowers and Trees receiving all sorts of raves while the track “The Birds and the Bees” has been spotted in a national VW ad. Toss in a cover of Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” that wouldn’t sound too out of place on the Borat soundtrack and some ridiculously playful live shows, and you the recipe for something genuinely special.

Now, the one and only Eugene Bezoids takes part in PopMatters’ 20 Questions feature, discussing how good he’d look in an ellipsis, why setting Patrick’s hair on fire may or may not be part of a magic trick, and his unabashed love for ... cider.

by Zach Schwartz

13 Mar 2010


Phenomenal Handclap Band is a seven-piece touring band and the purveyors of dance music one might be tempted to call groovy. Their self-titled album came out in June on Friendly Fire.  PopMatters met up with the band at the start of their recent tour, specifically in their van behind the 930 Club in Washington D.C.

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PopMatters: So, NPR called you guys the “perfect mix of everything from the last 40 years of popular music.” How do you respond?

Phenomenal Handclap Band: [in unison] Thank you!

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