SEPTEMBER 29, 2011 • VOL. 29, NO. 14
INSIDEBEAT THE WEEKLY ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE OF THE DAILY TARGUM
Female Comedians Tellin’ It Like It Is
CLUB•KILLE T H IG F L E MOD
82•BUR -1 K IN L B • E LIT
SS•AUDA E L R O F E L Y CRASH•ST
Page 2 • Inside Beat
September 29, 2011
EDITOR’S RANT & TV BY RYAN SURUJNATH ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Female comedians, film stars, television personalities, authors and politicians – it seems that history has, up until recently, robbed an entire gender of recognition. But while the feminist movement is as strong as ever, it doesn't seem as though anyone is looking out for men. I am in no way advocating a return to the mid-1900s chauvinistic ideals in which a man arrives home after a day at the factory and expects a sandwich and foot massage. My case can be better illustrated in
THE MASCULINE MYSTIQUE an observation I made several weeks ago. I found myself walking through Macy's (because it's on the way to the Sony Style store) whereupon I found a man and his wife/girlfriend/mistress in the footwear department. She was in the process of test fitting of series of items, all the while asking the man's opinion. The poor guy looked absolutely miserable, and I pitied him, much in the same way that one pities an injured animal that should be put out of its misery. This sight made me wonder about this man's situation: between family obligations, paying the bills on
time and working a dead-end job, this Average Joe may not have the time to simply be a man. This is what the magic of television is for. While the average man may not have time to go and wrestle an alligator, there is a variety of television programming that can get the testosterone flowing. Spike T.V.'s series Deadliest Warrior recently concluded its third season. Shows do not get much more masculine than this; Deadliest Warrior combines technology, past and modern weaponry, historical trivia and lots of blood to create a manly experience that put hair on my chest just
IT’S RAINING MEN BY FREDDIE MORGAN TV EDITOR
September 19, 2011. Records were undoubtedly broken. The Two and a Half Men premiere ratings were awe-inspiring. Jaw-dropping. Incredibly huge. Remember when Charlie Sheen wigged out on a month-long cocaine-induced trip last May? How could anyone forget? He launched a series of personal rants against Men creator Chuck Lorre (among other things) after being fired from the show for erratic and self-destructive offset behavior. And America gathered around, if only to see the plane ultimately crash. Sheen seemed to prevail (read: survive from serious drug-over-
dose and brain damage); however the damage he had done was irreparable. The eight-year partnership with Lorre could never be amended, a fact that was made abundantly clear in the season premiere of a Sheen-less Two and a Half Men. Much of the first half hour joked about Sheen’s Charlie Harper, who got brutally phased out of the show after getting hit by a moving train on a trip to France. Jon Cryer’s Alan was the only person who seemed truly upset. But, the show must go on! Enter Ashton Kutcher, whose scraggly and unshaven presence looming outside the Malibu house window strongly resembled that of a wet dog. He dazzled the audience with his portrayal of Walden
achieve the same goal through the use of videogames. After having to endure Sex and the City 2 as an article last semester, I needed to partake in the most masculine possible activity to purge my system. Thus, I popped in Fallout 3 and proceeded to make a bloody mess of anything that stood in my way. I can sum up the moral of this story with a simple analogy. It's perfectly alright to drink light beer, and it's somewhat practical to drink light beer on a daily basis. But sometimes, you're going to have to trade that bottle of Coors in for a shot of whiskey.
COURTESY OF DEADLINE.COM
Schmidt, who seems a bit like That 70s Show’s Kelso with an inheritance. He bantered with Cryer, made irrational purchases and he even appeared naked… for all these efforts, how well could Men have really done? Pretty damn well: overall, the 9th season premiere delivered 27.7 million viewers last Monday night – akin to the popularity of an American Idol premiere. Surprisingly, the sitcom scored a 10.3 rating among adults 18-49 – that’s an all-time high for the show, and up 110% over last fall’s 8th season debut. There is no doubt that the show is riding the coattails of Sheen’s publicized departure. Only time will tell if Two and a Half Men is really better without Charlie Sheen.
EDITORIAL BOARD Z OË S ZATHMARY .................................................... EDITOR RYAN SURUJNATH.....................................................ASSOCIATE ASHLEY PARK...................................................ASSISTANT
by watching it. BBC's Top Gear takes man's universal love of cars and explosives and injects it will a distinctly male brand of humor. My father enjoys Steven Seagal movies for the same reason. He doesn't watch for a deep, engrossing plot or expert cinematography, and he definitely does not watch these films because the man is a good actor. My father, like most men, derives a sort of carnal pleasure when he watches Seagal slit some hapless moron's throat in the name of America. While I personally can't watch Under Siege without getting chronic indigestion, I
FREDDIE MORGAN............................................................................TV EDITOR EMILY GABRIELE.......................................................................MUSIC EDITOR HEATHER TEDESCO................................................................THEATER EDITOR ZOË SZATHMARY....................................................................FASHION EDITOR JILLIAN PASON..........................................................................COPY EDITOR KEITH FREEMAN.........................................................................PHOTO EDITOR ALEX NATANZON............................................................................FILM EDITOR DIANA CHOLANKERIL...............................................................ONLINE EDITOR RYAN SURUJNATH...........................................................VIDEO GAMES EDITOR
THIS WEEK’S CONTRIBUTORS TO INSIDE BEAT : Maggie Blaha Spence Blazak Gianna Moscatello Josh Kelly Ashley Lagzial Cover Photo Courtesy of esquire.com
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UP ALL NIGHT
NBC, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. | BBY FREDDIE MORGAN TV EDITOR
There is no doubt that a baby changes everything, including good TV. NBC’s Up All Night proves that adding babies to the equation is the quickest way to ruin a sitcom. The show features three of the funniest actors on the small screen and limits their potential by baby-proofing the storyline. Reagan Brinkley (Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?) and her husband Chris (Will Arnett, Running Wilde) are a carefree couple that feels obligated to clean up their act upon the arrival of an unexpected baby. And, in an equally unexpected twist, they do. Viewers get a minute glimpse into the couple’s past, and judging by several bar scenes of drinking with strangers and dancing on pool tables, we are to assume that the couple is not used to their humdrum 9 – 5, child-rearing routine. Reagan, a talk-show producer, and Chris, a stay-at-home dad, are two fairly normal adults. The most earnest (and, consequently, least
funny) moments are when the Mr. and Mrs. are blindly feeling their way through parenthood. If the writers insist that Arnett play someone subdued, then it’s clear the third star, Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids), has been delegated to bring a wackier brand of humor to the show. While initially she was cast as the head of a P.R. firm, her role was rewritten to an egomaniacal, anxious talk-show host. Subsequently, she is also Reagan’s best friend, and is desperately seeking the reveler she once had in a childless Reagan. At one point, Ava arrives at the Brinkley’s place with a “baby gift” – a basket with venison stock, hot pepper cheese, and chilled bottles of Veuve Cliquot. There are so many reasons the show has potential. Sitcom veterans Applegate and Arnett have a nice lived-in chemistry as a playful yet genuinely loving couple. However, it feels that Arnett’s talent is being squandered by confining him to a more regular role. It is hard to believe that the same man who played the fantastically self-involved Gob
Bluth on FOX’s Arrested Development is now playing a father whose most interesting part of the day is finding a new friend on Xbox Live. Unfortunately, the pilot also had some poorly crafted elements. The script is peppered with censored swear words as an indication of the life that once was, but it’s simply off-putting and unnecessary. Also, it’s not believable that Ava is a highprofile celebrity when she casually strolls into the Brinkley home, a local bar and a restaurant without a swarm of security guards and ogling fans trailing behind her. We’re just not convinced. All in all, the success of the series hinges on what the writers do with their characters. The premise is not unique, and, moreover, not completely sustainable (they’re bound to figure out parenting eventually.) What will keep the show afloat will be how the characters react in any situation that may arise. However, if the series continues along the same vein as the pilot, there’s no point in staying up all night for Up All Night.
Inside Beat • Page 3
September 29, 2011
FASHION COURTESY OF TMAGAZINE.NYTIMES.COM
Style For Less Fall Fashion COURTESY OF ECOUTERRE.COM
WORD ON THE STREET BY ZOË SZATHMARY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Chiseled abs, haughty cheekbones and a general air of indifference – these are the hallmarks of male models. So who knew some of these pretty boys like to beat one another to a bloody pulp? According to New York Magazine, “Friday Night Throwdown” has been organized over the past two years in various downtown New York warehouses. Led by two shadowy promoters, the fights draw crowds of up to 800 people, each person paying a $20 cover charge. Despite comparisons to the infamous “walk-off” scene in Zoolander, there is a le-
MODEL FIGHT CLUB gitimate boxing ring, a bell, an announcer and a referee; even refreshments are sold. It’s not just models that jump into the ring; Muay Thai street fighters and actual boxers participate, too. One of the organizers has quipped, “I think it’s hilarious that the whole point of [the male models’] being is to make money off what they look like, yet they’ll come throw down for a couple hundred bucks.” Fighters can earn $150 per night, with the chance to earn more at later fights if they can entertain the hungry crowd. “Rockstar Charlie,” according to T Magazine, is one of the more popular fighters/models; he usu-
ally draws a large group of supporters, fights early, then parties while watching others duke it out. Model Marcel Castenmiller has also fought at Friday Night Throwdown – he appeared in a Tommy Hilfiger ad with a scratched cornea two days after a bareknuckled brawl. Famed fashion personalities, like photographer Steven Klein, have been spotted at the gatherings, along with a motley crew of rock stars and people-about-town. While these hush-hush events draw the in-crowd, you won’t see models with multi-million dollar contracts put on boxing gloves anytime soon. They’re too pretty to quit their day jobs.
BY DANIELA WEINAPPLE STAFF WRITER
Fall is in the air and new fashion trends are on University students’ minds. With the semester in full swing, costs can add up quickly – after purchasing school essentials needed for class, it can seem impossible to even think about splurging on a new fall wardrobe. Luckily, keeping up with the trends doesn’t have to leave you penniless. This season is all about bold colors and prints. Bright orange and red hues, shiny metallics and 70s-style patterns have been popping up all over designer brands like Alexander Wang and Chanel. Leopard prints, polka dots, and faux fur have been featured as well, particularly on accessories like shoes, handbags, and vests. Here are a few hot fall items straight off the runway and their more affordable counterparts.
Fashioning Reality COURTESY OF VOGUE.COM
L: Mad Men Collection Izzy Pumps $120 (Banana Republic) R: Christian Louboutin Calf Hair Pump $795 (Neiman Marcus)
BY MAGGIE BLAHA STAFF WRITER
Within the glossy pages of a magazine like Vanity Fair or Vogue exists a fantastical world of high fashion, culture and art. To readers, it seems otherworldly. Readers enter an alternate reality – a reality that isn’t focused on the practical. High fashion magazines reflect the glamorous world and lifestyle many readers can only imagine. In this year’s October issue of Vogue, author Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking) recalls her disdain for childhood when she was seven or eight in the appropriately titled “In Sable and Dark Glasses.” She longed to be
an adult – twenty-four, specifically – and would spin elaborate scenarios where she was a sophisticated woman while mixing herself a “lettuce cocktail” (iceberg lettuce and crushed ice in a stemmed glass). Her fantasies featured her as an adult wearing a sable coat and dark sunglasses hounded by the paparazzi in Argentina because she had just gotten a divorce. Didion admits that she had no idea what a sable coat or Argentina looked like, but they were “concepts” that sounded very grown-up to her. She found the typical fantasies little girls have of dream weddings and life as a princess to be “banal.” But Didion was also keenly aware
that she didn’t want any typical adult life. She wanted to live an extraordinary life where she would host fancy dinner parties, travel the world and wear beautiful clothes. Didion would spend hours flipping through issues of Vogue and assembling her perfect, ideal wardrobe from the articles of clothing and accessories found on the glossy pages. She was looking to make her fantasy possible. The same concept applies to flipping through a fashion magazine. When reading a magazine, you can imagine yourself smartly dressed and drinking chic beverages. It’s akin to a little girl playing dress-up or make-believe…but the make-believe isn’t far-fetched.
L: BB Dakota Janika Fur Vest in Black $99.00 (Urban Outfitters) R: DKNY Faux Fur Vest $295.00 (Saks Fifth Avenue)
L: H&M Blouse $9.95 (H&M) R: Raoul Silk Georgette Blouse $225 (Saks Fifth Avenue)
Who Says Wome TE UR CO
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“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.” –ELLEN DEGENERES
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BY HEATHER TEDESCO THEATER EDITOR
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“[The vendor said] ‘Ma'am, there's no alcohol in Disneyland!’ I'm like, ‘Well, my ticket says it’s the Happiest Place on Earth!’” –KATHLEEN MADIGAN
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“Usually I'm on top to keep the guy from escaping.” –LISA L AMPANELLI
On Sept. 10, 2011, Kathleen Madigan performed her stand-up comedy routine Gone Madigan at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. With jokes about politics, reality television and her family, Madigan received an uproar of applause and laughter from a packed house. Madigan’s stellar performance was no shock to the audience who undoubtedly recognized her from her many appearances with Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and David Letterman as well as from her appearances on Last Comic Standing. While Madigan’s fame and success are clear, this is not necessarily true about all women comics. Tammy Pescatelli, who opened for Madigan at the State Theatre, told the audience in a moment of seriousness: “Women need to support each other in life, but also in comedy, because there aren’t that many of us.” This begs the question: why aren’t more women in comedy? Unfortunately, the immediate answer that comes to mind is “because women aren’t funny.” In an effort to debunk this stigma, we sat down with Vinnie Brand — comedian and owner of The Stress Factory Comedy Club in New Brunswick — and asked him a few questions about women in comedy. Brand admitted that for a very long time, comedy was mostly maledominated. This not only had to do with numbers, it also had a lot to do with the big comedic icons. These all factor into the perpetuated stereotype of women not being funny, a stereotype that Brand encounters a lot. “A lot of guys will come in here saying women aren’t funny,” said Brand, “but when I have female headliners, it’s those people who buy the tickets and sell the place out... So there’s still the perception that women cannot be funny, and it’s just inaccurate.” To prove his point, Brand offered the following examples: Tina Fey, Lisa Lampanelli, Lucille Ball, Roseanne Barr, Carol Burnett, Ellen Degeneres, Wanda Sykes, Rosie O'Donnell and of course Kathleen Madigan. Brand specifically talked about how impressed he was with Lisa Lamanelli and Wanda Sykes. When Lisa Lampanelli has five standing ovations to sold-out shows at The Stress Factory, Brand notes, “You can’t deny that; you can’t say that women aren’t funny.” With Sykes, Brand says that she reached a new level that is rare for all performers: “Even the way she dealt with breast cancer was so real and raw. She’s not one of my favorite female comics, she’s one of my favorite comics.” When asked where this stereotype came from Brand said, “I think what drove that, besides the male ego, was just that so many men were in the field and men felt more liberty to be very free to talk about sex in a way that was shocking.” Brand noted that many people found it very taboo for women to talk about sex in that way. For women, those taboos were very real and women needed to find a way to be a comedian without crossing a boundary that would offend the audience. One comedian that Brand pointed out as having done this very well was Ellen Degeneres. Brand commented that Degeneres has won the hearts of millions with her comedy, and she did so by going above and beyond the talent of her male counterparts. She had to be another
en Aren’t Funny? COURTESY OF P OPTOW ER.C OM
COURTESY O F PRW EB.C
“My husband and I didn't sign a pre-nuptial agreement. We signed a mutual suicide pact.” –ROSEANNE BARR
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“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.” –LUCILLE BALL
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The Stress Factory Comedy Club is located at 90 Church St. in New Brunswick, NJ.
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caliber of comedian, and that’s what she did to be the big talent that she is today. In addition to it being a more crudenatured profession, comedy is something that is ver y club-driven. Brand attributes this night scene to the reason why women haven’t sought out comedy more in the past and why it is only becoming more popular in recent years. Tammy Pescatelli even mentioned in her stand-up how she had to always make sure she had a sitter for her child in order to do her shows and that her publicist was enraged when he had originally found out that she was pregnant. He saw her pregnancy as the end of her career. Yet even with a kid, Pescatelli has been able to maintain her image in the comedy world and perform for huge crowds – all things that Brand says would be unheard of 10 years ago. Something else that Brand has seen change in the past decade is the sincerity of women comedians. Brand finds that sincerity in comedy is invaluable. While he believes that women were a little slower to catch on to the more genuine acts, he sees it more prominently in modern performers. “Men became more real on stage while women were still in the revolutionary process. Women from 20 years ago were more likely to put on an act and now it’s that the audience wants to connect with the real person who is the comic. The early female comics like Rosanne Barr were real and that’s why they were successful. When I’m on stage I’m just being me and being who I am, it’s only in the past 10 years that women have really embraced that,” said Brand. Brand is also finding that what was once seen as intimidating and unladylike is becoming more acceptable of women both inside and outside of comedy. “Laughter has always been more of an aphrodisiac to women than men, but guys are getting over the fact that women can be funny. It’s happening across the spectrum. Who wants to watch women’s sports? A lot of people do now, but 15 years ago you wouldn’t hear a man say, ‘I want to watch women play soccer.’ That’s all changing because the role of women is evolving,” said Brand. He also commented on his own love life and the way that he appreciates his wife’s humor. Brand stated, “My wife is a brilliant writer. My wife is hysterical. In her writing, contemporaries find her funny. I do find her hysterically funny and I find that endearing...it doesn’t hurt that I’m funnier than her, though.” At the end of the interview Brand left us with some advice for comedians everywhere. He said, “My advice to all comedians is be committed to being yourself, the audience wants to feel like they’re watching YOU. As an audience member you want to reach out and touch that person, you want to feel like you know that person.” Hopefully these inspiring words can attract more women to the world of comedy sending the message that women can be funny…and they are!
“That's what [men] want: two women. Fellas, I think that's a bit lofty. Because, come on, think about it -- if you can't satisfy that one woman, why do you want to piss off another one?” –WANDA SYKES
Page 6 • Inside Beat
September 29, 2011
FILM & VIDEOGAMES
Killer Elite Gary McKendry | C-
BY SPENCE BLAZAK STAFF WRITER
A possible alternative title for the new espionage thriller Killer Elite might be Generic Fall 2011 Jason Statham Vehicle, because then the title would have had the same amount of effort put into it as the movie itself. Danny (Jason Statham, Death Race) is an ex-killer who is dragged out of retirement kicking and screaming when his old partner, Hunter (Robert De Niro, The Deer Hunter), is kidnapped by a Middle Eastern sheik. The sheik says he will release Hunter if Danny can kill the three men who killed his three sons in exactly six months. Soon after, Special Air Services operative Spike (Clive Owen, Children of Men) is on Danny’s tail. It’s not a bad setup, but Killer Elite quickly finds a way to destroy any potential it has in its first twenty minutes. Saying it is clichéd is a drastic understate-
ment; the characters are motivated by nothing more than money, power and relationships with significant others that are flatter than a flapjack. This leads to the audience being overwhelmed by a slew of characters that are nothing more than names. The fact that these people are the protagonists is the beginning of Killer Elite’s many problems. The actors do the best they can with such a limited script. Clive Owen pulls off the role of a generic villain well enough, as does Robert De Niro as a wisecracking killer, but Statham really struggles. Transporter 2, Crank and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels showed that he could have been the 21st centur y’s answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger – Statham can be a great action star at times. In Killer Elite, he just looks like he doesn’t care. This completely sucks any energy from the film. As the movie progresses, it keeps tr ying to out-cliché each
scene. The most hackneyed line of all is towards the end when one character shoots another, claiming, “It’s nothing personal, just business.” Killer Elite has committed the unforgivable sin of an action movie script: quoting The Godfather. Despite all of Killer Elite’s missteps, first-time director Gary McKendry shows a few moments of brilliance. While most of the fight/chase scenes are edited so closely together that it’s hard to tell what’s happening, McKendry shows potential in a minor fight that Danny witnesses from across a street. It’s only two or three shots and features a middle-aged Englishman beating up three skinheads who key his car. Too bad it only lasts for 50 seconds. All in all, Killer Elite is a massive dud. It will soon find its way to the bargain DVD bin at the checkout of K-Marts nationwide. Banality permeates the overbearing pores of Killer Elite through and through.
COURTESY OF ALLMOVIEPHOTO.COM
MONEYBALL Bennett Miller | B BY RYAN SURUJNATH ASSOCIATE EDITOR
COURTESY OF ALLMOVIEPHOTO.COM
In 2003, Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. His novel had such a profound impact on Major League Baseball, that teams like the New York Yankees now use the form of statistical analysis Lewis writes about, known as sabermetrics, as an important factor in acquiring new players. Bennett Miller turns Lewis’ book into an accessible drama that is based on the true story of an economically disadvantaged team. Brad Pitt (Inglorious Basterds) plays Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane. After a defeat in the 2001 ALDS by the Yankees, Beane and the A’s organization are placed in the unenviable position of having to rebuild following the loss of three key players. To help with this monumental task, Beane hires Peter Brand (Jonah Hill, Knocked Up), a former advisor to the Cleveland Indians. Together, Hill and Beane adopt a radically different team-building strategy that stresses the importance of a high on-base percentage. Beane and Hill set out to sign a number of unlikely players, among which include the oft-injured first baseman Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt, Wanted) and the aging, former Yankee star, David Justice (Steven Bishop, Lost). Though this new method earned him no favors with team manager Art Howe (Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote) and the Oakland media, Beane’s A’s persevered to a spectacular 2002 season. Admittedly, the film does not focus much on the team itself; astute baseball fans will notice the omission of some names that were central to the team's playof f run. Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, Tim Hudson, Barr y Zito and Mark Mulder are never mentioned in the film. Even the
individual stories of Hatteberg and Justice are left unexplored. Indeed, Billy Beane is the protagonist of Moneyball. The film deftly ties Beane's professional life as a manager with his emotional baggage: prior to his ascension within the Athletics organization, Beane was a highly touted high school prospect who choked upon entering the big leagues. The driving force behind Moneyball is a stellar performance by Brad Pitt, who injects the right balance of emotion and light humor into Beane's character. Pitt's performance has at least an outside chance at an Oscar nomination. Pitt's performance is supplemented by a team of proven screenwriters. Steven Zallian (Schindler’s List) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) do an amazing job in dramatizing Michael Lewis' book, which contains long, unfilmable stretches on sabermetric principles. One of the film's most memorable scenes involves an expertly written spectacle in which Beane haggles with several other teams in an effort to acquire Cleveland reliever Ricardo Rincon. Though Pitt’s performance drives the film, Moneyball suffers from blatant pacing problems. The movie has a runtime of just over two hours, and it has a tendency to drag on at parts. This can sometimes be especially painful for those who are not baseball fans and may not have an interest in or understanding of baseball terminology. Moneyball also suffers from a lack of climax; the film repeatedly builds suspense over long periods of time towards a singular event that, ultimately, is not as satisfying as it ought to be. Moneyball will not win the sport of baseball any new fans. It is best to think of Moneyball not as a sports film, but rather, as a smart and well-written drama.
Inside Beat • Page 7
September 29, 2011
MUSIC COUTESY OF FACEBOOK.COM/OFFICIALTHRICE
COURTESY OF HANNAH GROSSMAN
BY EMILY GABRIELE MUSIC EDITOR
Major/Minor | B+
BY GIANNA MOSCATELLO STAFF WRITER
Nothing groundbreaking for rock band Thrice will be found on their 8th release Major/Minor — what is present is a more refined sound. The album feels like a culmination of all that the band has been working toward since their first, more experimental and alternative release, Vheissu, back in 2005. Major/Minor incorporates elements from their entire back catalogue, yet the album never sounds like a repeat of anything they’ve done so far. The production on the album is a highlight in itself — every instrument shines through effortlessly,
and they never seem to fight one another for sonic space. The bass and guitar tones are thick and crunchy which adds to the spellbinding atmosphere that grabs the listener from the first note to the last. Lyrically, the album is very strong. Dustin Kensrue’s words read like poetry and the imagery and emotion conveyed in his work is very much signature of Kensrue’s writing style. He delivers his words with a great deal of passion in his voice, which accompanies the ensemble’s emotionally raw, energetic and creative instrumental work exceedingly well. Though Major/Minor is a solid effort from the seasoned vets, it still has its drawbacks. There are times
throughout the album when the track’s melodies sound all too similar. This aspect, melded together with the same bombastic guitar tone and thick orchestration, makes a few individual songs lack personality. Though this problem in no way makes the record less listenable or beautifully written, it remains a slight drawback nonetheless. Major/Minor may not be Thrice’s biggest musical advancement but the album is dense, honest, and brooding, and is still distinctive to the band — which alone makes the album one worth owning for any fan. Highlighted tracks include “Call it in the Air,” “Blinded,” “Yellow Belly,” and “Blur.”
“We’re all about splitting everything equally in the band … it brings a good dynamic. It’s 25 percent divided evenly, in every aspect,” Dan Claps commented on his progressive-rock band, Audacity. The Princetonbased rock quartet has a significant amount of musical talent amongst its members. Vocalist/bassist Mike Martino, lead guitarist Drew Weinstein, rhythm guitarist Steve Nieves and drummer Dan Claps are long-time friends who decided to form the band in 2008. Since then, Audacity has caught the attention of many music-lovers. Their music possesses raw vocals, intricate guitar riffs and pounding drum runs — making for a recipe for engagement. Releasing a self-titled, five-song EP under a year ago, Audacity’s live performances are the guys’ primary area for building a strong fan-base. “There are times where we
bring in 150 fans to a show just based off of our promotion on Facebook,” Claps stated. Audacity has played some of New Jersey’s most noteworthy venues, ranging from Starland Ballroom to The Stone Pony, and they made many connections along the way. They continuously possess fer vor for networking. “We pride ourselves on being friendly guys and being approachable,” Weinstein added. A band with a ridiculous knack for collaborative song writing, their undying ambition is just an added bonus to their appeal. Currently, Audacity is working on recording and perfecting their music in hopes to release an album in the near future. In the meantime, be sure to check out Audacity’s live performances. Their next show is Oct. 28th, at the Freehold VFW, for more information and upcoming show dates go to facebook.com/audacitynj
BY JOSH KELLY STAFF WRITER
Back for their fourth studio album, Kasabian have really put together a solid effort. Velociraptor! is enjoyable from start to finish, with stand out tracks such as “Days Are Forgotten” and “Switchblade Smiles.” The album shines with aesthetic quality, yet it falters in the area of originality. Ever y track sounds similar to songs you’ve heard before; The Beatles are the obvious inspiration for tracks like “La Fee
Verte” – it even includes a direct reference to “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”. The track “Man of Simple Pleasures” is in line with such groups as Arctic Monkeys, and “Switchblade Smiles” could easily be a B-side from Muse, further proving their shortfall of distinctiveness. At one minute the album seems calm, with crooning vocals, strings and acoustic guitars on tracks such as “Neon Noon”, yet the album completely contrasts itself with heavy synth melodies and a distor ted cr unchy guitar on the self-titled song. To some, this may seem disorganized, but the tracks have a strange way of working together.
Lyrically, the album serves as a strong catalyst for social commentary. Tom Meighan put together an album that is more emotional than previous efforts, with subject matter reflecting the decline in intellectualization, increasing confusion over decisions made by those in power, visceral desires and people’s tendencies to self-medicate in attempts to deal with a progressively soured quality of life. “It’s the 21st century ain’t it cool?/It’s taught us how to eat and how to drool,” Meighan honestly sings on track “Acid Turkish Bath”. All in all Velociraptor! contains nothing new in terms of musicianship or production, but it is an entertaining listen that is worth picking up. COURTESY OF KASABIAN.CO.OK
Blink 182: A Flashback to the ‘90s BY ASHLEY LAGZIAL STAFF WRITER
The Honda Civic Tour featuring Blink 182, My Chemical Romance and Matt and Kim caused excitement nationwide. The distinct difference in demographics was clearly present in the crowd, but the enthusiasm for the show was shared amongst everyone — regardless of age. The mid-tour performance took place Friday Sept. 16 at SPAC in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The show began as indie rockers Matt and Kim walked across the stage and took their respective places. Although the popularity of Matt and Kim cannot hold a candle to the other two acts that followed, they still put on an amazing high-energy performance that proved they deserved the spot on this big-named tour. Next up was My Chemical Romance, which brought more engagement from the audience — undoubtedly due to their successes on MTV. Front man
Gerard Way, spor ting pink hair, took the stage and belted out songs from an array of albums such as, “Give ‘Em Hell, Kid”, “Welcome to the Black Parade” and “Teenagers”. As the lights finally dimmed for Blink for the last and final time, the intro to “Feeling This” could be heard and the electricity in the crowd was contagious. Tom, Travis and Mark gave a solid performance as they played an even mix of songs from all six of their albums — including the soon to be released album, Neighborhoods. Although the act sounded great live, the feeling that the band was jaded by their copious amounts of performances over the last two decades was definitely apparent. Unscathed by this fact, the audience called for an encore, which was answered by Travis Barker’s much hyped “flying” drum solo. The song “Family Reunion” ended the set, which was accompanied by confetti and loud screams from the audience. The tour still continues through the month of October.
Published on Sep 29, 2011