Jeff Koons’ first exhibit of new work in New York in a decade opened last night, May 8, 2013 in the exhibit “Gazing Ball” at David Zwirner and it was quite a scene. His work often elicits a strong response and I heard the gamut of emotions last night at the opening night reception.
Jeff Koons “Gazing Ball”
The fact that Koons’ work gives people such a strong reaction is proof that his work is effective as it pushes the “art as a conversation” boundaries outwards. I overheard a lot of art critics (who shall not be named) not wanting to like it, but once inside the gallery, they couldn’t help but enjoy what they saw. And to those who didn’t give the work a chance and just hated on it for the sake of hatred, it was abundantly clear that those people are extremely jealous of Jeff Koons’ success.
Jeff Koons “Gazing Ball”
I am not one of those people who is jealous of Koons and in fact, I think that it’s so great that he has not let fame go to his head. He has just been dubbed the most successful US artist since Andy Warhol, and still he took the time at the opening to sign autographs and pose for photos with fans, and as you can imagine, he was pretty mobbed at times.
Mark Kostabi at Jeff Koons’ “Gazing Ball”
Many celebs and artists were at the opening including artist Mark Kostabi (pictured above), Ben Stiller, Salman Rushdie and art collector Peter Brant.
Johnny Fuckin’ Marr! The guitar god from The Smiths and Electronic has a solo album out called “The Messenger” and he performed a sold out show at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on May 3, 2013 to promote it. Johnny Marr didn’t sing when he was with The Smiths, so many people may not know that he is both great on guitar and vocals. The show was epic on so many levels. Of course, the final song featured former Smiths band mate Andy Rourke (more on that in a moment), but in addition Johnny Marr busted out some classic Smiths songs and also a pair of Electronic songs mixed in with tracks from his latest album.
Johnny Marr played two Electronic songs that I never thought I’d ever hear live before, and though he doesn’t sing lead vocals on the studio versions, he made them his own last night. He performed “Forbidden City” and “Getting Away With It” which were both great, and if you stay tuned, a video of the latter will be coming soon. He also dusted off some Smiths classics including “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” “London” (and a video will be coming soon, so stay tuned) as well as the final song “How Soon Is Now?” where he brought former band mate Andy Rourke on stage for what will probably be the closest thing to a Smiths reunion that the world ever sees.
Johnny Marr doesn’t often tour, but a friendly word to the wise, the next time he comes to your city, do not miss him! I hope he comes back around because it was really epic hearing his new album mixed in with classic tracks from his past. Hearing 500 people sing the words in unison also was pretty cool and you could tell that Johnny was having as great a time as the audience. Respect!
Johnny Marr Merch
The setlist was:
The Right Thing Right / Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before (Smiths) / Upstarts / Sun & Moon / There is a Light That Never Goes Out (Smiths) / Forbidden City (Electronic) / London (Smiths) / The Messenger / Generate! Generate! / Say Demesne / Bigmouth Strikes Again (Smiths) / Word Starts Attack / New Town Velocity / I Want The Heartbeat.
Encore: I Fought The Law (Clash) / Getting Away With It (Electronic) / How Soon Is Now (Smiths) – Featuring Andy Rourke.
Several months ago, I saw British singer Tom Odell’s first US show. I was blown away watching the 21 year old singer who at times channels Thom Yorke, Chris Martin and Tom Waits. Needless to say, I was very excited to see Tom Odell on his second trip to New York where he performed at Bowery Ballroom on May 2, 2013. The show opened with folk/rock singer Jeremy Messersmith who got the crowd in good mood with his mellow love songs (and songs about Tatooine, graveyards and organ donors!)
Go to Jeremy Messersmith’s website where you can sample his music and if you like what you hear, you can download his 4 albums for a “pay as you wish” price for a limited time. Don’t be cheap, support emerging artists!
At 10 pm, Tom Odell hit the stage and kicked off the evening with a cover of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” before launching into his soon to be hit “Hold Me.” You can see a video of the pair of tracks below. Throughout the 12 song set, Odell played piano and guitar and had a nice mix of ballads and rockers. I spotted Tony Award winner James Corden in the audience who was singing along to every song by Tom Odell. Odell also performed an awesome cover of The Beatles’ “Oh Darling,” which will hopefully be officially released because it rocked! His EP “Songs from Another Love” is out now, and you should check out his music as Tom Odell is tremendously talented. Just click play below and you’ll see what I mean.
I’ve seen Muse in concert many times before and they never disappoint. On their second of 2 sold out nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden, despite feeling very under the weather, Muse did their jobs as rockstars and for two hours catapulted me into another time and space! Here are 10 reasons Muse are one of the best band ever.
1. Non-stop stage action for two solid hours. This came in the form of great visuals, flashing lights and lead singer Matt Bellamy running all over the stage.
2. Great songs that rock. I mean, holy shit! Their songs rock. To see a stadium of people singing in unison to a Muse song instead of your typical stadium fare is awesome! People play it safe too often. Way too often.
3. They change the setlist up. Seeing them two nights in a row, I think I had more fun the second night! The energy was so much better and people were really getting loose. Speaking of setlist, they have good pacing too. They have so many songs that could be the encore because they are so epic, but they are peppered in throughout the set because they have so many great tracks to choose from.
Matthew Bellamy of Muse
4. Ticket prices were not horribly expensive (considering). I understand that so many rockers need to build another wing on their mansion, but why make the fans pay for it?! The cost of tickets to both nights was cheaper than 1 night of Fleetwood Mac! I blame Stevie for that!
5. Matthew Bellamy is a guitar god. On his knees, he performed the Star Spangled Banner on guitar! And rocked the shit out of it!
6. Their lyrics have something to say but are not overtly preachy. I like a band who may make you investigate something you may not previously thought of. I’ve said this a lot before, and I will say it again, their song “Uprising” should be the world’s national anthem! I used to enjoy that so much with Prince, because his lyrics made you curious to investigate spirituality, unfortunately, now his lyrics are like a sermon of why you are going to hell. Ugh!
7. Great use of covers. They did a snatch of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” and on the second night, they did their cover of “Feeling Good,” which definitely adds something to the original – some rock and roll! Plus, what great lyrics to hear a room of 20,000 people sing. It’s a new dawn/It’s a new day/and I’m feeling good!
8. Great stage set up. I briefly touched on it above, but it’s worth repeating. Every song found the stage transforming into something different and the lights and visuals were super cool. I think if you were a non-Muse fan and just watched the visuals, you’d be hard pressed not to be very impressed.
9. The band is nice to fans. A lot of people most likely have not met them, and maybe they don’t find it important. But I do. If a person preaches love and peace and then behind the scenes they are a prick (like Madonna, Prince just to name two brief examples), that taints my experience. I’ve met the band on several occasions and they have no problem being cool to fans.
Matthew Bellamy of Muse and Geoffrey Dicker
10. If you walked into the Muse show with zero knowledge of their music and you witnessed the things I’ve mentioned above, unless you are just a bitter and angry person, you would have found at least one of these qualities rocking your world and these days, that’s all you can ask for!
The set list on April 15, 2013 was: The 2nd Law: Isolated System / Supremacy / Map of the Problematique / Supermassive Black Hole / Resistance / Star Spangled Banner (on guitar) / Panic Station / Knights of Cydonia / Monty Jam / Explorers / Follow Me / United States of Eurasia / Liquid State / Madness / Time Is Running Out / Undisclosed Desires / Stockholm Syndrome / The 2nd Law: Unsustainable / Uprising. Encore: Starlight / Survival
The setlist on April 16, 2013 was: The 2nd Law: Isolated System / Supremacy /Panic Station / Supermassive Black Hole / Plug In Baby / Resistance / Star Spangled Banner (on guitar) /Hysteria / Knights of Cydonia / Feeling Good / Follow Me / Sunburn / Liquid State / Madness / Time Is Running Out (with “House of the Rising Sun” intro) / Undisclosed Desires / Dead Star / The 2nd Law: Unsustainable / Uprising. Encore: Starlight / Survival
One of my 1980s fanboy dreams came true on April 7, 2013 when I saw The Fixx perform at The Bell House in Brooklyn. The 80s new wave/rockers have a new album out called “Beautiful Friction,” and the classic lineup has reunited for this tour. Over the course of the hour and a half set, a majority of tracks from the new album were played and if you haven’t really followed The Fixx in a while, you should definitely check out their new record as it’s really good.
But the show was not all about the new record. Many of The Fixx’ most beloved tracks were played including two of my personal favorites “Less Cities, More Moving People” and “Secret Separation,” which was played as an unannounced second encore! Lead singer Cy Curnin threw in a bit of Tina Turner’s “Better Be Good To Me” at the end of the song (and if you’ll recall, Cy appears in the music video). Stay tuned as a video of “Secret Separation” will be coming soon!
The classics “One Thing Leads To Another,” “Red Skies” and “Saved by Zero” were also performed and both Cy and the band sounded as good as they did in the 80s. A few of my favorite tracks were not aired (such as “Sunshine in the Shade,” “A Letter to Both Sides” and “Are We Ourselves?”) but the prospect of hearing those classics live will keep me coming back to see The Fixx for as long as they keep touring.
The Fixx Merch
The Fixx Setlist – Bell House. Now property of the G archives.