If you had no knowledge of Maroon 5 and tuned into the Super Bowl halftime show last night, you’d have thought Adam Levine was a solo act. That’s a shame, especially since I’ve seen Maroon 5 live, and the only good part of the show is lead guitarist James Valentine. Mr. Valentine is the extremely well-dressed, long-haired gentleman who can play. He’s often lost in the shadows of Levine, who is less than generous to his band. When I saw them perform live at The Forum, his band was barely visible behind the ridiculous light show and stage placement. If you’re curious what it looks like when a lead singer is generous to his fellow musicians, go see Bruce Springsteen live. I realize that no one compares to The Boss, but given his performing prowess, one might expect that he too would steal the spotlight at the expense of his band — and he does the opposite.
In the age of #MeToo and #TimesUp, my eyes have opened to sexism in the media, and one such realization lies in the fact that men are often way more dramatic and messy than women. Such is the case with Future, who took aim at Seattle Seahawks player and husband of Ciara (his baby mamma), Russell Wilson, during a Beats1 interview radio interview saying:
[Wilson] do exactly what she tell him to do… He not tellin’ her, ‘Chill out with that on the internet. Don’t even talk to him. I’m your husband! You better not even bring Future’s name up!’ If that was me, she couldn’t even bring his name up. She know that. She couldn’t even bring her exes’ names up.
It’s interesting that Future recently said the hardest part of monogamy is a woman’s jealousy when his own statement about Ciara confirmed his hypocrisy. Any man that imposes parameters on what his wife/girlfriend can and cannot say is inherently possessive and jealous. That being said, Ciara and Wilson’s response seems even less mature. Posting a picture of Future’s son on social media is an innate jab wrapped in a pretty bow. If Future has inherent issues with his access/role in his son’s life, keep it private. In fact, keep the entire thing private.
I have yet to see a show at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre, but I’ve hiked the venue in the daytime, and it’s jaw-dropping. Below is a video of The Revivalists performing “All My Friends” live from the Denver, Colorado spot. The Top 10 Alternative Radio hit can be found on their ‘Take Good Care’ LP, which was released in November of last year. The band will be performing in Los Angeles tomorrow, January 19, at The Forum for iHeartRadio ALTer Ego 2019 alongside twenty one pilots, Muse, The Killers, Weezer, Rise Against, and Bishop Briggs.
The Revivalists consist of David Shaw (lead vocals, guitar), Zack Feinberg (guitar), Ed Williams [pedal steel guitar), George Gekas (bass), MichaelGirardot (keyboard, trumpet), RobIngraham (saxophone), Andrew Campanelli (drums) and PJ Howard (drums, percussion).
Adam Lambert is one of the best voices of our generation, and the former American Idol finalist proved his vocal prowess once again with a stunning rendition of Cher’s “Believe” at The Kennedy Center honors, which left the legend in tears. Cher later took to twitter to express her adoration for Lambert’s performance, saying her “senses [were] overwhelmed.”
You can catch Lambert with Queen for their 2019 Rhapsody tour. Watch below.
Lorde Have Mercy
Kanye West is an easy target, and he’s the subject of some much-deserved criticism as of late. But don’t touch the man on the music front. Lorde recently took to Instagram to proclaim that Kanye and Kid Cudi (the Kids See Ghosts rap duo) lifted Lorde’s floating stage in the shape of a box, saying:
AN UNFORGETTABLE ENTRANCE
I’ve been to a lot of shows at the Hollywood Bowl and it’s not my favorite venue (I prefer The Greek). But if you ask non-concertgoers in Los Angeles, they will overwhelmingly endorse the Bowl. It’s legendary. Plus, it certainly helps that the Bougie wine-and-cheese crowd can pay a little extra to sit inside a glorified box. It was not until seeing Florence + The Machine that I finally realized the true value of that venue. At approximately 9:15 p.m., Florence Welch entered the stage in unison with her very talented musicians, and it was as if the heavens opened up and released a gift from G-d amidst the stars and the mountains. The aesthetics of a show are often overlooked, and she optimized every inch of available space. Her staging was impeccable, with perfect lighting and a background that made the large area feel incredibly intimate.
Nestled in the stunning town of Steamboat, Colorado is the Strings Music Pavilion, which showcases over 60 genre-spanning performances during the summer months. The venue houses just 569 people, which provides for a beautiful, personal experience between the audience and the artist. As a devoted Steamboat-goer since a very early age, I can safely say that the venue and concerts have only improved over the years. And given its uncompromising quality at the outset, that’s a mighty task.
There is a soft spot in my heart for Dispatch, given that the indie band made the rounds in my college, and since they’re still playing to sold out crowds, their new song is worth mentioning. With their first album in five years. ‘America, Location 12,’ they will be releasing a special song every couple of weeks throughout the summer and the collection will culminate as one bundle after the last song is out later this year. Listen to their latest release below, and catch them on tour soon.
Let me begin this post by assuring my readers that at one point in my life, I was a massive fan of Maroon 5. In fact, I’d say I was one of their first, and my love began when Adam Levine stood front and center on ‘Last Call with Carson Daly’ to debut ‘Songs About Jane,’ their first record. That album was almost entirely written by Adam Levine and Jesse Carmichael, the latter of which is the band’s pianist and rhythm guitarist. The two also almost exclusively wrote the band’s second album, ‘It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,’ which was also a success. But in 2010, everything changed. They released ‘Hands All Over,’ which debuted far below expectations. This was especially surprising given that it was produced by legendary veteran Mutt Lange. In an interview with Howard Stern, Levine referenced a rift with Lange while making the album, implying that once they worked out their differences, it was smooth sailing. Did Levine tie Mutt’s hands, thereby hindering the creative process, or did the two simply not get along — and the resulting album reflected their rancor? It’s hard to say and sometimes things just don’t land, but the experience seemed to have hit Levine hard given that for their next three albums, ‘Overexposed,’ ‘V,’ and ‘Red Pill Blues,’ Maroon 5 opened their doors to a daunting amount of songwriters outside their band. Was that the right decision? Perhaps. I certainly enjoyed those records. But I cannot help but think when you employ the industry’s heaviest hitters to keep you relevant, you move from a bunch of friends in their garage doing what they love to a group of guys trying to be famous no matter what the creative cost.
When I arrived at The Forum to see Maroon 5 live, I had an open mind. I promise. As soon as Adam began singing, I noticed his live vocals seemed far too low for the venue, which I first blamed on the front of house engineer. Then my friend asked if he was lip-syncing, and it was as if my mother just confessed Santa isn’t real (I’m Jewish — but you get the point). “It’s far too perfect,” she said. Later, when it felt as if he was in fact singing live, the vocals sounded astoundingly different. Though I have no direct confirmation that Levine lip-synced, I’ll say that I pay a hefty ticket price for a reason, and if Sheryl Crow can give an incredible performance at The Greek with a cold and cracked voice, Levine can sing that entire concert live. But let’s assume he sang live, for argument’s sake.
It’s no secret that Adam Levine is often the target of “haters.” Though celebrities will always deal with negative press, these types of attacks start from somewhere. Even Jonah Hill (a longtime friend of Levine) told Howard Stern that though Levine gets a bad reputation, he’s an extremely kind, genuine guy. So why the misconception? For starters, Levine seems arrogant. Why? Because he took the stage in sweatpants (literally), a wife-beater, and sneakers. This is a far cry from the suits the band was known for wearing during their rise, and it’s not acceptable for a grocery store run let alone the stage at The Forum. It’s as if Levine is so hot he’d look good in anything, and so famous he can’t be bothered to forgo his pajamas while performing. At one point he even took a swipe at James Valentine’s (lead guitarist) jumpsuit, which was actually damn cool. In fact, Valentine was the best part of the show, given that the man seemed to purely want to play his instrument, rather than artificially hamming it up for the audience. Speaking of hamming it up, Levine did this in all the wrong places. For starters, he almost exclusively played downstage right, despite having an underutilized stage (in the shape of a “V”) in the center of the audience. When he sang “She Will Be Loved” beside Valentine for the encore while standing on the unique stage mid-audience, it provided a rare authentic moment that could have been duplicated throughout the show to provide a more dynamic experience, rather than a light-assault akin to a South Beach club. Sit on a stool and sing a ballad, or do anything other than burn through your material while barely addressing the audience. I’m not there to see you hit the play button on your record and call it a concert. Speaking of which, I’d have loved to see more of the Maroon 5 band, but because of the on-stage setup, they were basically hidden like Hollywood Squares. Okay — I’ll stop now. I seem angry.