Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’

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Kid Cudi is back! Not that he really went anywhere, but his latest album is comparable to his First and sophomore albums Man on the Moon I & II.

He suffered through life, and you can hear that in his past few albums. Cudi’s latest release, Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’, is a depiction of getting your life back together. Trials, tribulations, love, hate, sex, there is tons of emotion flowing. A rebirth, rising of the Phoenix. He’s taken back the commander role upon his spaceship.

 

All You Need is Love

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Whenever the world is getting you down or you are having a hard day, put on The Beatles. Eight out of ten times, the song will be uplifting and the other two times, the song will be just what you need to hear.

With all of the crazy politics going on and all of my family and friends in an uproar, I am left feeling exhausted, confused, and disappointed. I must stay positive. I have to, there is no other way to survive and generally not be in a bad mood all the time.

This has happened to me twice, which is why I am writing about this. I take the train to way work and am usually listening to music. On these particularly difficult days I put on The Beatles and the first song to come on was All You Need is Love followed by Let it Be and then a really random song like Rocky Racoon or Penny Lane. The first two songs have been the constant in both cases.

It reminds me that first and foremost: LOVE wins. Always. Second: Don’t be angry over what you cannot change. I’m starting to think my iTunes’ shuffle setting isn’t that random after all, or someone else controlling my playlist  😉

 

Hip Hop Evolution 

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A new documentary series streaming on Netflix interviews the originators (in episode 1). I can’t wait to see how hip hop has evolved to what it is today. 

I love old-school hip hop. The first episode reminds me of another Netflix series, The Get Down, that accurately depicts the rise of hip-hop music. Ch-ch-check-check it out!

Dj Kool Herc

That’s one thing I don’t do, give out names to records. Better hear it. Everybody can’t have your records, hide it! Cuz if everybody have my records, why come to my party?

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats with Special Guest Mavis Staples at the Chicago Theatre

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My mind is still in shock from the awesomeness of that evening. It started with a dinner date, a couple of drinks, and a brisk walk over to the Chicago Theatre. Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:30 and I thought we would be able to beat the line if we got there just as the show started. I was wrong. There was a line half-way down the block. After standing in line for about 10 minutes, a security woman says “OH MY GOD. Please Use All Available Doors!” I’m thinking to myself, “Is it human nature to form a line and wait? It was so damn cold, but at least the people in line were nice?”

We are in. Skip the bar lines as you go in, those lines are always the longest. Find a bar closer to your seating area. Odds are there is a bathroom nearby too. We had floor seats. Left side. Row BB. (I was expecting far left) We were right down the middle. 2 rows behind the orchestra pit. I couldn’t believe it. Best seats I have ever had at the Chicago Theatre – hands down!

Mavis Staples lit up the stage in her sparkly red dress, and looked like she was having a good ole time in the spotlight! She was funny, told some great stories, and most of all had the audience engaged! “I’ll Take You There,” we all sang back to Mavis. Earlier this week Mavis was awarded with Kennedy Center Honors and she told us about how she had gone to the White House with 8 really tall, suited men. Pointing at all of the men, First Lady Michelle said, “Mavis, I see how your roll!” And with the flick of her wrist she says, “Yeah Girl! I still got it!” I loved Mavis’ stage banter, and comments about her cousins being in the audience. She said you would hear them screaming in the audience, in reference to her Chicago family. ❀

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats took the stage after a short, but appropriately timed intermission. They opened with a twist of I’ve been Failing, followed by I Need Never Get Old. I loved the synchronized dance moves between the trumpet and sax player. They all took turns rocking out on the tambourine. After a few songs, Mavis joined the stage again for a rendition of “The Weight,” and they had the whole crowd singing along Take a load off Fanny, Take a load for free…  it was great!

Nathan had a short solo set where he covered Leonard Cohen. He messed up a few measures in, but made it quite comical. After a couple of songs he shouted “Nightsweats – Assemble!” The rest of the band joined him on stage, and had a nice little jam session while Nathan took a quick break.

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats are an amazing band to see live. Better than the album. I love that they play up and get creative with their music so it doesn’t sound exactly like it does on their record. Their energy and vibe are contagious had the entire audience dancing.

Last note: Chicago Theatre security team was cracking down on people taking video/photos (even if you held your camera/phone up too long, it appeared as if you were taking video). It was kind of a buzzkill. I wasn’t causing trouble, but others around me couldn’t seem to grasp the “No Video” policy they announced several times throughout the show.

I may have gotten around their “No Video” policy by lowering the brightness on my phone screen, and not using any flash. Here’s a few snaps from the show!

 

Tribe Called Quest

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If you like jazz, funky-fresh beats, rap, hip-hop, or music in general – this album deserves respect. We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, the group’s newest album release since 1998. I had heard of the band before, but never listened to them considering I wasn’t listening to rap music in 1998 – I was in the 3rd grade, (really dating myself there). I may need to go back and listen to some of their older material, but I can tell you that their new material is the shit.

The opening song, The Space Program, sets precedence and tone for this album. I love that they even worked in a sound byte for Gene Wilder from Willy Wonka.

I was surprised to hear a sampling of Elton John on Solid Wall of Sound.

I love the mixture of instruments and collaborative guest appearances by André 3000, Jack White, Kweli, Busta Rhymes, Kanye, and many more!

Check it out, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Young The Giant: Home of the Strange Tour

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I went to see Young The Giant featuring Ra Ra Riot as their opening act at Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.

The vibe was great, for the most part. My only frustration was the two girls standing next to me, speaking so loudly, you could hear them over the music and the crowd. How Rude?! I mean, at least go stand in the back or STFU so everyone around you can at least enjoy the show. Other than that, nothing but your typical concert annoyances ;P

Ra Ra Riot were fun and energetic! I didn’t realize how many instruments made up their band. Their cello player had a hollow cello – like it was only the outline, how f-ing cool is that? During their second-to-last song, Young The Giant surprised band and the crowd by joining the stage, oh and there was a kitty!

Young the Giant’s performance melted my face off. I was on Cloud 9, rocking out, dancing, singing along, and had a great night – and so did YTG! Their final show of the Home of the Strange tour. They had 2 encore sets, that had the entire crowd jumping! I think my favorite moment was the surprise Champagne and Remix to Ignition. Second-most-favorite moment was I Got. I loved that they played a few good songs from their first album.

Check out a few snaps from last night’s show