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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rock Madness

The union of music and sports is often imperfect. And in some cases, it is downright ugly. (See: Every Super Bowl halftime show ever, any NBA player turned rapper, and every time I've so much as whispered "Red Sox" on this very blog.)

Part of the issue is that the fundamental cores of each pursuit are diametrically opposed. On a large scale, yes, they are both essentially forms of entertainment. But music is — ideally, at least — rooted in some degree of artistic expression, of intellectual or emotional creation. Conversely, sports are designed around competition, proving physical superiority at the expense of an opponent. 

Combined with a host of other social and cultural roadblocks, meshing sports and music presents a unique, and often insurmountable challenge. Aside from montages in sports movies and the occasional battle of the bands, they just don't fit. But that doesn't mean it's not fun to try.

With March Madness soon to get under way, ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd has applied the college basketball tourney's bracket system to rock and roll, in an attempt to decide just who is the greatest rock band of all time. It's totally silly. However, while not without flaws, it's actually pretty entertaining.

For the non-sports inclined, here's the gist. 64 prominent bands, roughly spanning the history of rock, are separated into four groups — or, in NCAA tourney lingo, "regions." The bands in each grouping are ranked, 1-16, and then pitted against one another, highest seeds vs. lowest seeds. Winners are determined by fan voting, with the victorious groups moving on to the second round, then a "Sweet 16," "Elite 8," "Final 4" (consisting of the overall winners from each region) and eventually, a championship match.

The highest seeds are rock icons — think the Beatles, the Stones, etc. The mid-to-lower seeds are well known, commerically successful bands that, while perhaps not legendary, have (mostly) left some kind of significant imprint on popular music over the last 50 years. Particularly given the target audience — sports fans first, rock fans second — ESPN did a decent job of selecting and ranking bands. I would have likely come up with a slightly different group. (311 and Nickelback made the tourney and the Beach Boys didn't? U2 as a 1-seed? Seriously?) But whatever. Its close enough for jazz. Or for rock on a sports site.

The matchups between top seeds and bottom seeds are pretty much obvious blowouts — the Stones vs. Blink 182, Zep vs. Creed, etc. Where things get interesting are the middle brackets. Just like in the real tournament, the best chances for upsets are found in the 5-12, 6-11, 7-10 range, where the gap in talent, or at least rock iconography is narrower. Here we find some interesting hypothetical debates. For instance:

Seattle regional: 8-seed Motley Crue vs. 9-seed Weezer.

Based solely on personal taste, I'd vote Weezer 99 out of 100 times — the one exception being if I'm drunk at a bowling alley. But taking their careers as a whole into account, the Crue might actually have an edge. Weezer made two-and-half great albums, and a slew of dreck since. But do two transcendant records (The Blue Album, Pinkerton) beat the Crue's more consistent, but never particularly "great" output? Hard to say. Ultimately, it comes down to which is less wussy: Buddy Holly glasses and cardigans vs. feathered hair and tights. 

London regional: 6-seed Red Hot Chili Peppers vs. 11-seed Black Sabbath

On the surface, it looks like someone should be shot, or at least fired for this seeding. Boil it down, and we're essentially talking Ozzy (OK, and Ronnie James Dio) vs. Anthony Kiedis. It's Ozzy and Dio, and it's not close. But again, taking the scope of each band's career into account, the Chili Peppers are still relevant — at least where modern commerical rock is concerned — and have been through three decades. And it would be a mistake to overlook the contributions of Flea here. Meanwhile, Ozzy is making 4G commericals with Justin Bieber. Still, we're talking about Sabbath, one of the most important metal bands in history. This game is reasonably close in the first half. Then Sabbath pulls away in the second when Ozzy alley-oops Kiedis' severed head on a nice feed from Geezer Butler.

Cleveland regional: 6-seed Bob Marley & the Wailers vs. 11-seed the Beastie Boys 

Probably my favorite matchup, and one I really struggled with. But it calls into question how we define greatness. Marley is an icon, arguably more synonymous with his genre than any other artist, in any genre in history. On the other hand, I personally just prefer listening to the Beastie Boys. It may sound like blasphemy, but you can make a case that the quality and, perhaps more importantly, the sheer volume of the Beasties' contributions to pop music cumulatively approach those of Marley. At the very least, it isn't as lopsided a match as it might initially seem. Still, much like you wouldn't bet against Jordan or Bird in a big game, you gotta go with the legend. That's Marley.

Cleveland regional: 5-seed Phish vs. 10-seed the Ramones 

Another interesting debate, especially 'round here. I voted for the Ramones, but it wasn't as easy a decision as regular readers probably assume. Phish, no question, are a historically great band. But then, so are the Ramones. The tie-breaker for me wasn't personal preference, but whose historical significance was greater. Phish elevated the game, but will always be viewed as Clyde Drexler to the Dead's Jordan. The Ramones changed the game forever, altering the landscape of rock in way Phish, wile probably more "successful," never did. To hack the basketball metaphor even further, the Ramones would be like Dr. J, a revolutionary player who changed people's perceptions of how basketball could be played. Plus, in a sporting situation, I'll take aggressive vices like booze, coke and cigarettes over weed and hallucinogens any day.

I could go on with stuff for hours. But maybe I should cut to the chase and let y'all decide for yourselves. Here's the link. Feel free to debate in the comments. And go Def Leppard!



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Apropos of Nothing

Sorry for the lack of postings this week. Lots on the ol' plate. Hows about I make it up to you with a link dump? And maybe an ice cream cone? Moving on …

First up, James Kochalka raised enough money for his Glorkian Warrior project. I'm guessing he's pretty, um, wired about that.

Our old pal, and former 7D intern, Tyler Machado, has a new music blog. He even beat me to the punch breaking the news about Marco Benevento playing a couple of shows at Parima. Do that again and see what happens, Machado. (Just kidding, Tyler … or am I?)

How's your bracket? Probably not as good as this kid's. His is quite possibly the only perfect March Madness bracket remaining in the country. Oh, and did I mention he's autistic?

Speaking of sports, ever wonder how your salary compares to, say, stupidly rich pro athletes? According to this nifty little time waster from ESPN, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer — newly signed to an unfathomably huge contract — makes my annual salary for every 1/3 of an at bat. Or put another way, after every strike. I knew I should have paid more attention in Little League. 

Burlington-based songwriter Anders Parker (will I ever get tired of writing that?) has a new album of guitar instrumentals called Cross Latitudes. It is available only via download. Check it out here.

Congrats to Waylon Speed, who were just added to this year's Gathering of the Vibes fest. They are also releasing a sweet little debut album this weekend, which you can read about here.

For yet another year, I couldn't go, but here's the best piece about SXSW I've read so far, from the New York Times' Jon Pareles.  

Feels more like March today, doesn't it? Honestly, I'm a little relieved. St. Patrick's Day was way too early for signs of spring like Sun Dress Day, geese flying north or the Beansie's Bus pulling into Battery Park. Anyway, for some reason dreary March weather always puts me in the mood for Sufjan Stevens. That's not a bad thing.

Last but not least, I hope to hell this trailer is real.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Killer Tomato

I haven't skied in a decade. I've never snowboarded. I don't actually even own a pair of snow pants. In short, I'm not a big winter sports guy. But I'm hooked on the Olympics — which you may have gathered if you've read this week's SoundBites. And stuff like this is one reason why.

Here is US snowboarder Shaun "The Flying Tomato" White's brand new trick, which you will almost certainly see attempted at tonight's competition in Vancouver. Even I'm pretty bro'ed out about this one. Enjoy …


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vick's VapoRub

(Editor's note: This post comes to us from regular 7D music section contributor and occasional Solid State blogger, John Pritchard. Yes, it's about sports. But it's also freakin' hilarious. I think you'll enjoy it, even if grown men playing a kid's game in funny pants ain't your bag. -DB)


With the dawn of another football season just weeks away, it's been difficult to ignore the media morality circus surrounding the NFL's reinstatement of convicted dog fighting kingpin Michael Vick, who returns to the field tomorrow night.

One would think the PETP protest lines would trump the beer lines at NFL stadiums on days these gentleman (and I use that term loosely) were anywhere near a gridiron. I too find it rather despicable that a man capable of such inhumane acts on dogs has been granted the opportunity to regain his job throwing pig parts around for the official sports vehicle for my second favorite macro-brew. What kind of example is this for the kids?

It's time for a long look in the mirror. Where does Vick rank amongst all time NFL goats, er, greats?

9. Plaxico Burress, New York Giants: Plax toted a handgun to a New York nightclub but could not ward off that most elusive of assailants: himself. He fumbled the gun — which he carried tucked in his sweatpants and it accidentally went off — injuring his million dollar leg and foolish pride. The incident sparked a nationwide debate on holster laws. Game day status: Two years imprisonment; lifetime of embarrassment.

8. Joe Namath, New York Jets: This lovable 70's pop icon was America's favorite drunk uncle until he voiced his complete disregard for 'the team struggling' during a nationally televised lunge in 2008, garnering a cultural penalty flag for illegal contact. Game day status: Hasn't been invited back to America's collective family gatherings since.

7. Frank Gifford, New York Giants: Lured by an airline stewardess and bagged by a tabloid-installed hidden camera cheating on his wife. Where was the offensive line on this play? Some protection scheme — he just never saw 'em coming. Game day status: The more-famous Mrs. Gifford-Philbin was later accused of quarterbacking sweatshop labor for K-Mart, and Frank's infidelity scandal thinned out like a poorly made sweatshirt during a backyard scrimmage.

6. Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants: L.T. liked to party … a lot. And while that's no crime, this NFL legend is remembered more for tackling prostitutes, crack and gallons of liquor then he is for tackling opposing quarterbacks — even claiming to purchase such treats anonymously for opposing players the night before games. Now that's encroachment! Game day status: Now speaks of fun and dangers of drugs and alcohol, Dances with Stars.

5. Rae Carruth, Carolina Panthers: Carruth was speedy receiver with sound hands, a member of the league's 1997 All-Rookie team. But all would agree he was more-then-a-little out of bounds in 1999 when he thought it would be a good idea to lead a conspiracy to murder his pregnant girlfriend. Questionable, indeed, when your career highlight reel is an episode of American Justice. Game day status: Doing 20 years.

4. Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens: The ten-time all-star and league icon has been nothing but a gentleman and a scholar during his NFL tenure, discounting one minor slip up: his suspected involvement in a double homicide after a 4AM nightclub brawl on — of all nights — Super Bowl Sunday (OK, so it was technically Monday.) His piercing of the Giants offense one year later earned him Super Bowl MVP and all was pretty much forgotten, not unlike the flavor in the ironically named "life water" he now touts. Game day status: Pleaded guilty to a lesser charge; settled out of court with victims families, eying post-playing career role in Naked Gun 44 1/4

3. Donte Stallworth, Cleveland Browns: Stallworth was one of the leagues premier receivers until last year, when he intercepted a Florida pedestrian with his Bentley. Stallworth later claimed that he "flashed his lights" at the jaywalker. But the 59 year old man — a construction worker on his way home after an all-night shift — later died. Donte's two-point conversion: he was drunk and speeding at the time, merely taking an air-out ride after an all-night bender. No dogs were harmed. Game day status: Twenty-four days in jail, out of court settlement, one year NFL suspension

2. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles: Does Philadelphia play in Cleveland (a.k.a. the Dawg Pound) this season? That would mark the first game in NFL history where an opposing team would desperately avoid the end zone. It's probably only a matter of time before the true class act of the Vick family, Michael's brother Marcus, regains some headlines again. Blow the whistle! He just did. Game day status: Two years in jail. Vick now claims to be on a personal mission to advocate for animal rights, so what if it's two unannounced hours at a back alley Philadelphia animal shelter signing autographs once every off-season.

1. O.J. Simpson, Buffalo Bills: With a stalwart 99.9%, Simpson is the NFL's all time leader in one crucial but obscure statistical percentage: Almost-Making-Michael-Vick-Look-Like-a-Half-Way-Decent-Guy. Game day status: Vick could swallow a goldfish during the Superbowl half-time show and not even come close to this Hall of Famer.

Please e-mail me if you know where I can get a Vick #7 in cat sizes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Super Bowl XXXXII: 10 Reasons to Watch a Few Minutes

10. Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band: Don’t be refilling, snacking or outside the party when they wheel out Bruce mid-game in what’s sure to be the most awkward six minutes of his venerated career since “We Are the World.”

9. Jennifer Hudson’s National Anthem: Bound to impress, bearing in mind that no one will ever top the triumphant Whitney Houston headband-version of 1991.

8. Cardinals Quarterback Kurt Warner: Warner worked nights as a clerk at a grocery store in Iowa when his professional football career began in 1995. He’s earned approximately fifty-million dollars since. But like a polyethylene bag, his Everyman persona will never die. Selected to start earlier this season over Cardinals hot shot draft pick and renowned gentleman Matt Leinart, Warner’s "last chance at glory" tale is great stuff, whether he rides off into the sunset or laughably fails due to the onset of old age.

7. Arizona Head Coach Ken Wisenhunt vs. His Former Employer: Wisenhunt, a former Steelers assistant, was passed up for a promotion to their vacant Head Coach position resulting in his exodus to Arizona. Conditions are such that Ken may have many a disgruntled former employee in his corner.

6. Local Truce: The regional favorites New York Giants and New England Patriots aren't playing. Takes the pressure off. No high speed flipping of the bird back and forth to each other on I-89. No workplace awkwardness. No high spirited, near-violent discussions at the bar. Giants fans can quietly ponder why their players literally and figuratively shoot themselves. Smug Patriots fans can silently dream that their team may have been a major factor in this years tournament had they been allowed to participate and/or were it not for the eternally hapless Buffalo Bills.

5. Pittsburgh Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben has suffered a injuries to both knees, multiple back problems, an emergency appendectomy, a near fatal motorcycle crash without a helmet, two normal concussions and something called a 'spinal' concussion. Roethlisberger's list of injuries is so lengthy and complex that he may very well become the first player in league history to spontaneously combust mid-play.

4. Super Bowl Commercials '09: Art for cola's sake.

3. Spring on Television: Green grass - not turf. People are working on this lush Florida plot this very minute. Tampa's field has a tifway 419 Bermuda blend that’s sure to be decadent. The preparation of players and production staff are the oft-heralded sources of Super Bowl hype – but give a nod to the grounds crew. And green grass. It’s probably been a while since you’ve seen it.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers defense: To paraphrase Pittsburgh linebacker/convicted domestic assailant James Harrison: “No one likes to see anyone get injured. But hurting people is a different story.” Yikes.

1. Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald has a rare combination of speed, strength, humility and genuine personality rarely found in professional sports anymore. He is a truly a welcomed  relief.

Pick: Steelers 28, Cardinals 13. Post your picks below.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Fever

I promised myself I wouldn't do it. But alas, the lure of the world's largest sporting stage has proven too strong for me to ignore and I have been glued to the Olympics. I'm even watching on the Canadian channels (French and English!).

There are loads of reasons not to watch, of course. China's disturbing record of human rights violations, for starters. And their decision to censor the media covering the event by restricting access to certain websites. And the air pollution. And the lead in children's toys. And, well, you get the idea. However, the competition has been fairly gripping when we're not forced to sit though mind-numbing 15-minute human interest pieces from Bob Costas.

Some of my favorite story lines, thus far:

Can USA Basketball, the so-called "Redeem Team," return the country to prominence in the sport we invented? And will LeBron(ze) James refer to George H.W. Bush as "pops" again? 640georgebushvol_788317c_4

Can Michael Phelps nab 8 gold medals and eclipse Mark Spitz as the world's most decorated swimmer?

Will Chinese gymnasts start mysteriously disappearing if they fail to sweep the medals?

Does anyone really care about Equestrian events?

And, of course, is George W. Bush as big a perv as this pic makes him out to be?

The world watches with baited breath.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Beat L.A.!

You have to admit. I've been pretty good lately. Aside from my marathon rant — which I would argue hardly counts — I have kept my sports grumblings largely to myself. In fact, I'll even spare you my thoughts on the potentially epic Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals set to start tonight — at 9:07p.m. . . . WTF? Besides, I likely couldn't offer anything Bill Simmons doesn't in this terrific and utterly unbiased (wink wink) look at the history of the greatest "rivalry" in pro basketball. Seriously, it's hysterical. Thanks to 7D freelancer John Pritchard for sending it my way.

Instead, I'd like to submit this first video as a tribute to the perfect union of my two guiltiest pleasures, sports and cheesy hair metal. And also as the answer to the eternal question: What has nine arms and sucks?

The second video is meant as a tribute to the Basketball Gods — the 1986 Celtics, for those scoring at home. And as the answer to that other eternal question: What has 10 arms and sucks? (Hint: the L.A. Lakers).

We'll get back to music tomorrow, I promise — and it's gonna be a hell of weekend! But for now: GO GREEN!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Loves horses, and Eli Manning too...


So how bout that Super Bowl, eh?

Uh, yeah. I don't actually watch football. Baseball is my sport. And frankly, intensely watching a team from March through October requires a few months of rest from any sports coverage.

But if I had to claim affiliation to any team, it would be the Patriots. If only because I spent just about every Sunday of my college career hanging out in my friend Brian's apartment with the game on. Everyone else was there for the football. I came for our friend Aliza's famous spinach artichoke dip.

And so I clearly remember the celebration after the 2002 Patriots victory, and that of 2004, and 2005. A part of me felt like I should have made the trek back to Maine to watch the 2008 game with the old gang. And the old dip.

Instead I went to my childhood home in Connecticut, land of brown winters and big box store strip malls.

And Giants fans.

Yep, it's true. Not only did my grandfather play college football with Giants defensive end legend Andy Robustelli, but I spent my Super Bowl Sunday at the home of my best friend from high school. My best friend from high school and her entire New York fan family.

But it was all ok. And you know why? Because New York or New England, there was one thing we could all agree on: Tom Petty.


I mean let's be honest for a second. No matter how much hype the Super Bowl halftime show gets, no matter how many people claim to watch it, it blows. It's all lights, and flash, and medleys, and nipples, and just... not my scene. I'd actually rather watch football.

But when I heard that Tom Petty had agreed to perform, and had promised no medleys and no dancers, I was definitely curious.

My verdict? Overall, I enjoyed it.

Petty kept his word. No medleys and no dancers. Of course, there was a crowd to rush the stage and 'sing along' (many appeared to not actually know the lyrics) in brightly colored tee-shirts with obviously-issued identical flashlights. But, meh, that was unavoidable.

The band delivered four great American rock songs, appealing to all generations. And at our basement party of five Giants fans and one Patriots fan-wannabe, we all sang along. And sat there through the entire thing. Which is really the whole point, at least in the eyes of the NFL. If they can guarantee views, they can continue to charge a high price for advertising.

My only real concern was that I'm pretty sure Tom Petty flat-ironed his hair.

Which is just... bizarre.

Almost as bizarre as that underdog upset.

But in all seriousness, congrats to the Giants fans. That was a pretty amazing thing your boys pulled off last night.

Now get them a new home base, would ya? Because according to their season's record, The Meadowlands just isn't lucky enough for a team that can now call themselves the 2008 Super Bowl Champions. And the only group able to muster enough force to stop that uber-human strength generated by the shine of Brady's straight-toothed smile.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bloggity Bloggity Bloggity

Whew! What a weekend.

Friday night, I finally got a chance to catch local ska revivalists Husbands. What a hoot! I won't delve too deeply into my impressions as you'll be able to read all about it in tomorrow's paper. But talk about a flashback. The band is still fairly new on the scene and as such are a bit rough around the edges. It's forgivable. I haven't been to a good ska-punk show in probably close to ten years and goddamn if it wasn't fun. The whole night kinda made me long for my saddle shoes and checkered suit jacket. Ah, memories.

Saturday night, I acted as a judge for the Higher Ground Comedy Battle. Again, you can read more about this tomorrow. But I have to say that I went in with fairly minimal expectations. Stand-up comedy is sort of like karaoke in that it's only fun if it's either really good or REALLY bad. For the most part, the 11 contestants fell in line with the former. Color me pleasantly surprised.

The winner was a 20 year-old creative writing major at Johnson State College named Roger Miller. Honestly, if this guy doesn't pack his bags and head for NYC after graduation, something is horribly wrong with the world. Dude was hysterical. I think my favorite observation dealt with port-o-lets at music festivals — part of a larger, equally funny bit about drugs, hippies and jam bands. To paraphrase, you know something is truly disgusting if it's too nasty to piss into. Indeed.

Sunday night, I had every intention of pulling the Higher Ground two-fer and checking out Neko Case. But sometimes life gets in the way of the best laid plans. Unfortunately, my girlfriend threw out her back skiing at Jay Peak — on her second run of the day — and I ended up playing nurse all night, which is nowhere near as fun as playing doctor. Whoa!

Anywhoo . . .

I'm not a huge Neko Case fan, but I was really looking forward to seeing Eric Bachman. I dug both of his old(?) bands — Archers of Loaf and, in particular, Crooked Fingers. But alas, no soup for me. I hear it was a pretty sweet show though.

However, I did find myself in a rather strange position on Sunday afternoon as it was the first Sunday with no football since September. I've never put much stock in the whole "Cabin Fever" thing. But I'll be honest: I was kinda losin' my shit. I would have settled for the Toronto Argonauts versus the Montreal Alouettes . . . seriously, the Alouettes? That might be the lamest name in professional sports.

The funniest?  A tie between former Detroit Lions defensive back Harry Colon and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson. And once again, I digress. 

Fortunately, my sports junkie fix came in the unlikely form a Chuck Klosterman article on The piece deals with the New England Patriots pursuit of perfection with a win in this Sunday's Super Bowl and how the team's legacy — and more specifically that of quarterback/golden boy Tom Brady — would actually be more enduring were they to choke and lose. Essentially, the premise is that Americans, on the whole, identify with failure more closely than they do success. It's more humanizing to watch someone like Brady suffer defeat than it is to watch him continue to be virtually perfect. I think it's the same reason American Idol is still on the air — it's fun to watch people fail.

Though I vehemently disagree with his conclusion that Pats should lose, the argument makes sense. Frankly, Brady is a god among men. He's got model looks. He's the best player on the best team at the most high-profile position in sports. He dates one of the most beautiful women on the planet, Gisele Bundchen. And he recently fathered a child with another, actress Bridget Moynihan. If I didn't love him, I'd hate him.

Regardless of your interest in football, it's an intriguing read. Check it out. Except for you, Casey. I know how much you love Klosterman. And football.

Well, folks. That's all I've got for now. In the meantime, the story I wrote last week about teaching kids to play guitar using Guitar Hero has been getting some attention on And as a result, it's the second most popular story ever on Seven Days' new website. It's even prompted a snarky discussion about my work outside the friendly confines of Solid State. Neat-o! 

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No snappy title.

I have a million and a half things to write before Brooke and I head to Boston to see Brian Wilson on Friday. It's my third time. I feel like a member of some weird cult. On BW's website, he's encouraging attendees to wear loose-fitting robes and Nike sneakers. Wonder if they serve Kool-Aid at the Orpheum?

Anyway, here's a funny thing I stole from Pitchfork:


That's everyone's pal Borat hangin' with Mastodon.

While we're on the subject of hairy prog-metal, check out this live clip of Mastodon's tune "Capillarian Quest." The middle section shreds like a hundred biomechanical blizzard beasts.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Enter the Dragon.

Img_0210So we went to see DragonForce last night. Utterly ridiculous. Metal should never be in a major key!

Since y'all are undoubtedly interested, here's some of the highlights:

#1 The place was packed. The audience — mostly kids born after 1985 —  knew the words to every song, singing lines like, "So now we fly ever free / We're free before the thunderstorm / On towards the wilderness our quest carries on / Far beyond the sundown, far beyond the moonlight / Deep inside our hearts and all our souls." Can you believe it? I couldn't.

#2. The band cracked weird sexual jokes about one another. It seemed a little too cozy, if you get my meaning.

#3. The singer can hit all the notes.

#4. Guitarist Herman "Shred" Li is out of control. Two-hand tapping is just the tip of the iceberg with this fella. His Digitech whammy pedal makes the solos sound like sped-up video game music.

#5. They had a wind machine, a fog machine and a giant banner. It was as if they were performing in a stadium. Band members took turns running to either side of the stage, stepping out front and flipping their hair around. Rinse and repeat.

#6. The keyboardist took a solo during which he played the keytar with his teeth. Ever go through the patches on a synth and wonder who the hell would use those cheesy factory presets? I found the answer in this guy.

#7. They have an honest-to-goodness power ballad. The shirtless frontman actually asked if there were "any single girls in the audience" before donning a glam-tastic black cowboy hat and crooning like it were 1987.

#8. The ladies actually ate it up.

#9. The drummer must have Popeye-size forearms from all that jackhammer snare action.

#10. All of the songs employ the same formula and construction. That didn't stop the audience from singing along, raising their fists and hopping up and down as instructed.

It was truly a bizarre spectacle. The world has apparently gone mad. I'm just waiting for the inevitable a capella craze.

Speaking of silly metal stuff.... Thanks again, Mark!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

OK- I'm getting obsessed.

I found this clip of the aforeposted DragonForce on YouTube. It features the band's two guitarists playing the solo to the song "Through Fire and Flames." The best part is that they actually put a box at the bottom of the screen so you can watch their hands close up. What geeks!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thine Chalice Runneth Over.


I've always found "power metal" (or "adventure metal," as it's sometimes known) to be the most ridiculous of hard-rock genres. With all their neo-classical riffing and quasi-operatic vocals, bands of this variety are practically begging to be poked fun at.

Still, I admit to being compelled by D&D-inspired rockers. What would make a man (or woman) sing of wizards and battlements, anyway? The answer may never be clear. At least not to me.

Yesterday, while struggling to choose the spotlights for next week's issue, I discovered that British power metallers DragonForce are playing at Higher Ground. It's in the Ballroom, so they must be expecting some kind of turnout. I had no idea this kind of sound was a draw in sleepy Vermont. Maybe there are orcs in these here hills.

Anyway, here's one of their tunes: "Through the Fire & Flames"

It's totally goofy, no?

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