I am so proud of Sam Smith! In August of 2013, he was playing to 250 people at Mercury Lounge and less than one year later, he headlined the legendary Apollo Theater! The very sold out show took place in Harlem on June 17, 2014. The blue-eyed soul singer is 21 years old and in this important year of his life, he’s traveled around the world and back, had a few club hits by lending his voice to songs by dance duo Disclosure, was outed by the media after he matter-of-factly mentioned that the songs on his album were about a guy that didn’t love him back (how come the media doesn’t make straight people do this?), and of course on June 17, 2014 his debut album “In The Lonely Hour,” was released officially in the USA and will be battling with Lana Del Rey for the #1 spot this week.
During the show, Sam Smith thanked the crowd multiple times and mentioned how mind blowing it was to share the same stage that so many of his heroes (including Luther Vandross and Michael Jackson) have performed on. He told the stories of the songs before they were played with his tight band (that featured 3 backing singers and a string section), and he played nearly every track from “In The Lonely Hour” whilst also throwing in “La La La,” a stripped down version of “Latch,” “Nirvana” from the EP with the same name (and below, you can see a video of it) and for the final song of the night “Stay With Me,” Sam Smith brought out Mary J. Blige to perform the song as a duet, which of course was the perfect cherry on top to a fantastic evening. Apparently the show was being recorded, so let’s hope for a DVD or live album because the show was EXCELLENT!
Mary J Blige and Sam Smith
I wish Sam Smith tremendous success and I have no doubt that he will be a name you won’t be forgetting. And now… let Sam Smith take you to Nirvana!
The setlist was:
Intro / Nirvana / Together / Leave Your Lover / I’m Not the Only One / I Told You Now / Like I Can / Restart / Good Thing – Berlin / La La La / Lay Me Down / Money On My Mind
Latch / Make it To Me / Stay With Me (with Mary J. Blige).
On May 10, 2014, British electronic music gods VNV Nation played their first of 2 sold out shows at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. It was my first time seeing VNV Nation and before I go any further, I must give VNV Nation’s lead singer Ronan Harris my utmost respect for ensuring that the crowd had maximum fun at the concert. By quickly requesting that the audience turn off their camera flashes during the first song (and he rightly pointed out that people will get better pictures anyway with flashes off), it will not distract the band and it will also ensure that people don’t spend the majority of the concert in an iPhone coma. Then he simply instructed the audience to let go, dance our asses off and have fun. I am not kidding you when I tell you that I saw 100% audience participation at the show and as you know, I’ve seen my share of concerts! If only Ronan’s words could be posted at every venue, the overall concert going experience would be improved by leaps and bounds.
And once the concert got going, it was a 2 hour non-stop dance party! VNV Nation have a new album out called “Transnational” and the video you are about to see, “Primary” is a track from their excellent new record. If “try before you buy” is your thing, you can grab a free EP of remixes called “Crossing the Divide” for a limited time at this link (which will open in a new window). The video below captures a tiny glimpse of why you should always go see VNV Nation when they come to your city – first off Ronan Harris really gets the crowd engaged. He moves all over the stage, gives the front row opportunities to sing into the mic and he has funny anecdotes throughout the show. There’s also the amazing light show and visuals that will take you to another realm, and last and certainly not least, all of their songs are anthemic and designed to make you have a great time at their show, whether you are a VNV Nation die-hard or a newbie like me. Thanks to Ronan and company for an awesome night!
And now put all these words you’ve just read to the test by watching “Primary.” You won’t be disappointed!
Just press play.
See the set list and a photo of my brief chat with Ronan after the jump.
The last time I saw Berlin in concert, I was living in Los Angeles, so it’s been close to a decade since I’ve seen Terri Nunn in the flesh. That was remedied on May 3, 2014 as Berlin packed the house at New York’s Cutting Room. Terri Nunn looks and sounds better than ever (what are her beauty secrets and exercise regime? She looks great! You go, girl!) and played a setlist that appealed to die-hards, while still showcasing tracks off Berlin’s latest album (which is quite good, by the way) “Animal.” Before the night was over, we got to hear classics such as “The Metro,” “Masquerade,” “Pleasure Victim,” “Dancing In Berlin,” “Take My Breath Away,” “Like Flames,” new songs such as “Nice To Meet You,” “With The Lights On,” a cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody To Love,” and one of my favorite songs from Berlin - “Sex (I’m A…)”
A quick note about the video, despite being in the front row, I was over to the side so occasionally, my vision was blocked by members of the band! Ha! But you will definitely see why you need to see Terri Nunn every time she comes to your city so just click play!
See the set list and a photo of my encounter with the gorgeous Terri Nunn after the jump.
HD Video, photo and autographs obtained in person by G.
Thursday by Pet Shop Boys featuring Example
It’s Thursday! There’s no better way to celebrate this glorious day than by watching this glorious live video of Pet Shop Boys’ recent single “Thursday,” which they performed at Terminal 5 in New York on April 26, 2014. Released in 2013, the track is one of PSB’s best singles in years and unlike most of their contemporaries who continue to release extremely lackluster new music, Pet Shop Boys most recent album “Electric” is up there with their best work.
I think it’s a crime this song did not get more attention, but by sharing this video and seeking out the original, there is still time to make this track a hit. The song features an unlikely appearance by the rapper Example and as you are going to see/hear, this song is classic Pet Shop Boys.