Rapper Snoop Dogg put on a saucy show for revellers at Britain's Bestival festival on Saturday night (07Sep13) by enjoying an onstage lap dance during his rain-soaked set. The hip-hop star took to the stage to headline the second night of the U.K. music event, performing under his well known moniker instead of his reggae alter-ego Snoop Lion, and thrilled the crowd with hits including Doggystyle, Drop it Like it's Hot and Wet.
He performed part of his Katy Perry collaboration California Gurls, as well as a rendition of Calvin Harris' Feel So Close, while he also covered a saucy Akon song, I Wanna F**k You, while receiving a lap dance.
Snoop Dogg's set was marred by heavy rain, which also blighted most of the festival's second day. Bastille played through the rain, while rockers Franz Ferdinand were also soaked during their time on stage.
The festival closes on Sunday (08Sep13) with performances from acts including Nile Rodgers and Chic, Tom Odell and Sir Elton John.
I love Nelly. Country Grammar was a staple of my middle school existence and I still know all the words to "Ride With Me." But it would take a pretty sound argument to convince me that his early-21st century brand of club- and radio-friendly hip-hop is objectively "good music." And in no universe should his music, specifically "Hot in Herre," be classified as "better" than that created by Radiohead. But in the world of Grantland's "Battle for the Best Song of the Millennium" bracket, that is precisely what is happening.
For their extensive bracket competition, Grantland staffers picked what they deemed to be the best songs released as singles between 2000 and 2013, without, in their own words, "overly technical about what 'best' meant." These songs were then divided into four time periods — 2000-03, 2004-07, 2008-10, and 2011-13 — seeded, paired in head-to-head battles, and then sent off to the Internet for voting. And that's where things got weird. (You can read Grantland's whole mission statement for the bracket competition here.)
As I made my own picks and looked at the results of fellow voters, a trend emerged rather quickly. Top 40 hip-hop was kicking some serious ass. Nelly's "Hot in Herre" (at the time of writing) was besting Radiohead's "Idioteque" 65% to 35%. 50 Cent's "In da Club" had an approximate 40% lead over Wilco's "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," and Jay Z's "99 Problems" was wiping the floor with 30% over "Last Nite" by The Strokes. (And it continues: Lil Jon & Ludacris over LCD Soundsystem, Lil Wayne over Animal Collective, Kanye West over Frank Ocean...)
I know there are a lot of hip-hop fans in this here Internet-reading world and that most everyone (myself included) goes nuts when one of the aforementioned winning artists comes into rotation at a dance party. But are those songs really better than the ones by our indie rock bands? I venture to guess that the voting public is relying more on nostalgia to make their picks than an unbiased appraisal of the songs themselves. Why do we love "Hot in Herre"? Because we danced to it with the hot delegate from Denmark at the closing party of the Model UN conference in 10th grade (oh, was that just me?). Does that make it "better" than "Idioteque"? Eh...
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the rock groups who have managed to triumph over hip-hop opponents — The White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, and The Killers — saw the same sort of blockbuster success during my age group's formidable years as Nelly and the rest of them. And as such, you come to realize that you really can't divorce songs from the personal associations and sense memories they elicit. And, maybe more importantly for Grantland's poll, that children of the late '80s/early '90s (and their obsession with nostalgia for the recent past) rule the web.
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Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos almost broke up the chart-topping group two years ago after growing tired of the "routine" and "obligations" of the music industry. The rocker was exhausted and "incredibly miserable" following the release of their 2009 album Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, so he called a meeting with bassist bandmate Bob Hardy to tell him he wanted to call it quits.
Kapranos tells The Observer, "I wanted to split the band up, because in my head it felt like one of those jobs... the ones I had to jack in. I didn't like the routine and the obligations. And whether those obligations lay with my contemporaries, my peers, my record label, the fans, the audiences - or maybe myself... I felt... It was time to... stop that."
The singer admits the Take Me Out hitmakers' sudden rise to fame after releasing their self-titled debut in 2004 was almost too much to handle, adding, "It was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to be as a band... I shouldn't complain too much - we sold lots and lots of records. But I think the way it accelerated so quickly was probably quite damaging for us."
Guitarist Nick McCarthy insists he was also in desperate need of a break after so much time on the road: "I just came down heavily with depression, I think. I just thought, 'I can't play music any more', I couldn't stand it. We'd sucked ourselves dry."
The Scottish stars are set to release their fourth album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, later this month (Aug13) and Kapranos admits he finally feels comfortable with Franz Ferdinand's identity.
He says, "When we came to making the new album, we decided that oddness was just us! And we should enjoy that. It should be at the heart of our existence if we want to continue."
Franz Ferdinand rocker Alex Kapranos required medical attention backstage at a music festival in Hungary on Sunday (11Aug13) after suffering an allergic reaction hours before the British band was due onstage. The Cribs singer Ryan Jarman revealed the health scare to fans at Budapest's Sziget Festival, where both groups were performing, revealing his pal was "on his death bed backstage following a peanut incident".
A festival spokesperson confirmed the mishap, admitting that Kapranos had been knocked out for at least an hour after receiving two injections to combat the nut allergy, reports NME.com.
However, the Franz Ferdinand frontman proved he was ever the professional by taking to the stage right on time for his band's scheduled set, which included renditions of their tracks No You Girls, Right Action and Dark of the Matinee.
Diane Martel, the director who made the controversial videos for Miley Cyrus' We Can't Stop and Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines, has signed up to take charge of the promo for Franz Ferdinand's new single Evil Eye.
Blur singer Damon Albarn, Red Hot Chili Peppers star Flea and Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos have teamed up to record a charity single to benefit Oxfam's Syria Crisis Appeal. Latest Style will be available on 12-inch vinyl exclusively at the Independent Label Market in London on Saturday (13Jul13) and then as an auction item on eBay.com.
Singer/songwriter Beck brought his innovative sheet music album to life on stage in London last week (ends07Jul13) with help from stars including Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and rockers Franz Ferdinand. The Loser hitmaker released his latest record, 2012's Song Reader, only in sheet format, with the album package including instructions so fans could play the tracks themselves.
He played the album on stage in London on Thursday (04Jul13) and enlisted a number of famous friends to interpret his music.
Beck performed at London's Barbican centre with Cocker and Franz Ferdinand, as well as Beth Orton, Charlotte Gainsbourg and The Guillemots, and all the guest stars gave the album's tracks their own spin.
The concert was preceded by a special Song Reader exhibition at the Barbican which featured artwork and a presentation of the best amateur interpretations of the album.
We're heading towards Summer which means icy boozy beverages, copious movies about super power-laden humans, and lots and lots of outdoor concerts. And in August, there's an explosion of two of those factors: Chicago's Lollapalooza music festival. For three days, August 3 through 5, bands take over the city's Grant Park — the same park that held the jubilant crowd the night President Obama won the 2008 election.
And 2012 is going to fill out the picturesque park with tents, stages and sweaty music fans for the lineup chock full of big name acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys and Florence + the Machine. Plus, TV fans will be happy to find American Idol alum Haley Reinhart and Community star Donald Glover (as his rapper alter ego Childish Gambino) slated for the fest. So yeah, it's going to be a big one. Fire up the Spotify, crank up your headphones, and start listening because this year's lineup is nothing short of huge.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
THE BLACK KEYS
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
AT THE DRIVE-IN
THE AFGHAN WHIGS
THE TEMPER TRAP
SKREAM & BENGA
THE HEAD & THE HEART
THE BIG PINK
THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH
TORO Y MOI
OF MONSTERS AND MEN
GARY CLARK JR.
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
AMADOU & MARIAM
BAND OF SKULLS
JJ GREY & MOFRO
DUM DUM GIRLS
TRAMPLED BY TURTLES
BEAR IN HEAVEN
THE BLACK ANGELS
BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB
SHARON VAN ETTEN
TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS
MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS
THE DEVIL MAKES THREE
THE WAR ON DRUGS
JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD
FIRST AID KIT
JC BROOKS & THE UPTOWN SOUND
KOPECKY FAMILY BAND
THE WHITE PANDA
WALK OFF THE EARTH
DRY THE RIVER
[Image Credit: ChildishGambino.com]
Of the many fictional heroes of World War II, no one looms larger than Captain America. When Timely Comics introduced Captain America in 1940, there was no irony to his stars and stripes, his patriotism or his Boy Scout values. In the middle of an unambiguous war against evil that sort of thing can work.
But when the‘50s gave way to the atomic bomb, consumer culture and the House of Un-American Activities Committee, Captain America just didn’t have a place. Except for a failed revival in 1953, Captain America didn’t appear once in the span of an entire decade.
Then, by some strange stroke of genius in 1964, Stan Lee reintroduced Captain America to the world. Lee took this shining light of patriotism and brought him into an America in the midst of a monumental cultural change, when the civil rights movement and the death of JFK and Vietnam and psychedelics appeared to be changing everything. Stan Lee had the Avengers discover a frozen Captain America and when they thawed him out, the hero found himself in a world he never made, a soldier untainted by the complexities of the contemporary world. Stan Lee saw that Captain America could play a powerful counterpoint to the America of the 60s.
The movie incarnation of Captain America will get to that, no doubt, when Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie comes out next year. For now we’ve got a movie about Captain America in all of his patriotic glory. If that story works in the morally labyrinthine world of 2011, it will work because World War II shines with moral simplicity. World War I…not so much.
Everyone knows why World War II started. Nobody can explain why World War I started, even if they know it had something to do with a Scottish Post-Punk band called Franz Ferdinand. Or maybe that was an Austrian Archduke. Who knows, the point is that while World War II is the pop culture standard for good vs. evil, World War I is the pop culture standard for the absurdity of war, and no movie exemplifies this better than Stanley Kubrick’s 1957 masterpiece Paths of Glory.
World War II was all about tanks and fighter planes and troops marching across Europe, but World War I was all about the most boring and dangerous kind of fighting known to man: trench warfare. The voice-over that begins Paths of Glory describes the beginning of World War I as “a continuous line of heavily fortified trenches zigzagging their way 500 miles from the English Channel to the Swiss frontier. By 1916, after two grisly years of trench warfare the battle lines had changed very little. Successful attacks ewer measured in hundreds of yards and paid for in lives by the hundreds of thousands.”
Paths of Glory uses the plodding and casualty ridden nature of trench warfare to set up a series of moral dilemmas for officers and soldiers in a French regiment who have been ordered on a suicide run against the heavily fortified German position called Anthill. These decisions drive the officers to put a group of three men on trial for cowardice.
One of the great wonders of the film is the way Kubrick contrasts the blood and dirt of trench warfare with the gorgeous interiors of early 20th Century French architecture. The grunts live in mud while the offices recline in opulence. It is this contrast that sets up the morality tale that Kubrick aims to tell. War is a series of moral dilemmas, and Paths of Glory anatomizes those dilemmas with an aesthetic precision only Kubrick could attain.
It’s no coincidence that Paths of Glory premiered during a decade that had no interest in Captain America. I’m not sure what sort of world we’re living in right now. Maybe we need Captain America again; maybe we need an anatomy for the new morality of war. Either way, if you want to watch a genuinely great movie about the moral complexities of war, complete with action set-pieces and Kirk Douglas in his prime, Paths of Glory is the way to go
During World War I there was at least one night devoid of bitter fighting and rampant bloodshed: Christmas Eve 1914. On that night British French and German soldiers on the frontline cease fire. Most instrumental in the brief peace offering is Sprink (Benno Furmann) a renowned tenor who’s ordered to report as a private in the war. When his singing partner and lover a soprano named Anna (Diane Kruger) arranges for the two of them to sing together before a private and esteemed audience Sprink is reluctant to be away from his comrades and fulfilling his responsibilities. So he and Anna attempt to lift the spirits if only for a night of the German soldiers in the trenches by performing for them. But their enemies can’t help but hear the voices and the two risk gunfire by moving to a more central location for all soldiers to hear. Unthinkable magic ensues: weapons are dropped. But then morning comes. Much like the global scope of World War I the Joyeux Noel (“Merry Christmas”) cast spans several nations--all European in this particular case. In Germany’s corner are Furmann and Kruger (Troy National Treasure). Furmann’s performance is more compelling than Kruger’s but both suffer the untenable fates of lip-synching opera music; it is arrestingly atrocious but such scenes are truly a case of “Damned if you do damned if you don’t” include them. For the French there’s Guillaume Canet who gives a strong performance as a lieutenant who’s deeply troubled internally as he awaits word on his pregnant wife’s well being. And Brits Steven Robertson and Robin Laing who play young brothers eager to join the war both conjure up convincingly the calamitous nature of war in general as does Gary Lewis who plays their local priest. Writer-director Christian Carion apparently takes his World War I movies with a side of sugar. Which will undoubtedly please some viewers weary of watching the rough stuff on the History Channel while others might be put off by the sweet taste left in their mouths. Not that there isn’t the “war is hell” intimation here--in fact it could be argued that it is underscored even more by Carion’s decision to interrupt battle scenes for song--but when all the sides mingle during the cease fire the tone seems to go awry. Soccer games and pen pals amongst sworn enemies suggest Carion’s sentimentality fraternized too and a “What’s wrong with this picture?” vibe emerges. That’s the only real hitch for the film but it is a resounding one. Otherwise Joyeux Noel is shot beautifully and stories intertwine seamlessly. And Carion is further praiseworthy for setting out to explore a different side of the War even if it’s more sappy than divisive.