Arctic Monkeys play triumphant at Finsbury Park

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Arctic Monkeys closed their two-night run at Finsbury Park with another career-spanning set yesterday (May 24).

Following performances from support acts Royal Blood, Miles Kane and Tame Impala, the Sheffield band kicked off their own performance at 9pm with three songs from their most recent album ‘AM’: ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, ‘Snap Out Of It’ and ‘Arabella’. The latter track was interpolated with riffs from Black Sabbath’s 1970 classic ‘War Pigs’.

As with their show on the previous night, the first older track the band played was ‘Brianstorm’, the opening song from their second album, 2007’s ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’. During the evening the band revisited tracks from each of their five records but heavily favoured songs from ‘AM’, which made up almost half the setlist.

They changed the order of a few tracks from their opening night, but the only major difference was the replacement of frontman Alex Turner’s acoustic version of ‘A Certain Romance’ with Last Shadow Puppets track ‘Standing Next To Me’. The band were joined onstage for the performance by Turner’s Last Shadow Puppets collaborator Miles Kane.

The band then closed the show with another trio of ‘AM’ tracks: ‘One For The Road’, ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ and ‘R U Mine?’ Despite storms in London earlier in the day, the weather stayed dry for the band’s hour-and-a-half-long set.

Arctic Monkeys played:

‘Do I Wanna Know?’
‘Snap Out of It’
‘Arabella’
‘Brianstorm’
‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’
‘Dancing Shoes’
‘Library Pictures’
‘Crying Lightning’
‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’
‘She’s Thunderstorms’
‘No. 1 Party Anthem’
‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’
‘Fireside’
‘Cornerstone’
‘Knee Socks’
‘Fluorescent Adolescent’
‘505’
‘Standing Next To Me’
‘One For The Road’
‘I Wanna Be Yours’
‘R U Mine?’

Warpaint slams Beyoncé for hyper-sexualizing her music and image

Warpaint

Warpaint

 

While many music critics found Beyoncé’s surprise self-titled album to be an empowering, feminist-driven piece of work, psych-rock outfit Warpaint see things quite differently. In a new interview with Q Magazine, vocalist and guitarist Theresa Wayman criticized female pop stars like Queen Bey and Rihanna for unnecessarily over-sexualizing their music and public image.

“She [Rihanna] has an insane voice, she could’ve done something so much more stuble [sic] and artful,” she told Q.

Wayman then turned her eye toward the “Drunk In Love” megastar, commenting: “It just gets worse. Every song on Beyonce’s last album has her basically looking like a slut and she does not need to do that. She’s gorgeous and so fucking talented. And they all take it as women’s liberation!”

Perhaps mainstream music’s leading ladies should take a page out of Warpaint’s own “staunchly feminist, unyielding, and irreverent” self-titled sophomore LP.

Below, watch Warpaint’s video for “Disco/Very” and “Keep It Healthy”:

Update: Theresa Wayman has offered an apology and says her comments were taken out of context.

 

The Libertines announce first show in four years

libertines

 

It’s official: The Libertines will reunite this summer for a massive one-off concert at London’s Hyde Park on July 5th. It marks the band’s first performance together since their brief reunion in 2010.

According to NME, The Libertines are part of an impressive lineup that also includes The Pogues, Spriritualized, Maximo Park, The Enemy, Wolf Alice, Swim Deep, The View, and I Am Kloot.

Tickets will go on sale Friday, May 2nd.

(Read: UK Acts That Need to Tour America)

News of the band’s reunion is surprising given the tumultuous relationship between co-founders Peter Doherty and Carl Barat. However, in an interview with Israeli newspaper Ynet, Doherty was quite candid about his motivations for a reunion, as he revealed he has “financial problems.” He said, “Not long ago I listened to The Libertines songs on YouTube and had a burst of nostalgia so I said what the heck, and then they told me how much they will pay us and I cannot lie to you I couldn’t say no, at least not in my state right now. I was recently called to family law court after a young girl I knew had told me I was the father of her baby. I have a year and a half old girl and I need to pay a lot of alimony, I’m in debt. It’s very complicated for me to say no right now, I have financial problems.”

Below, watch The Libertines’ full reunion performance at Reading Festival in 2010.

 

Fleetwood Mac announce first tour with Christine McVie in 16 years

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac – Photo Getty

Fleetwood Mac have announced their first tour with Christine McVie in 16 years.

The band will be heading out on a North American tour with McVie, who revealed that she would be rejoining the band at the beginning of the year. The 34 date tour will start in Minneapolis on September 30 and finish in Tampa on December 20.

Fleetwood Mac have also said that they will be recording a brand new album with McVie. Speaking to Maui News, Mick Fleetwood of the band said that McVie had been writing new songs for the group, and they would be recording together this month.

McVie joined the band in 1970 after marrying the group’s bassist, John McVie. She continued on with the group for the next 28 years as main songwriter, vocalist and keyboard player. She’s responsible for some of the band’s biggest hits, including ‘Say You Love Me’, ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘You Make Loving Fun’, ‘Little Lies’ and ‘Everywhere’.

Rumours surfaced last year that McVie was contemplating rejoining Fleetwood Mac, and she appeared on stage when they played London’s O2 last September to perform ‘Don’t Stop’. In an interview with The Guardian after the concerts last year, McVie said she would be “delighted” if the band were to ask her to perform with them again.

Controversy over Red Hot Chili Peppers heats up

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Just as a cultural boycott was enforced on apartheid South Africa, so must one be enforced on Israel.

I was 10 years old when I stole my older brother’s cassette tape of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. In my small town in Massachusetts that fall, I traded in my air guitar for a much cooler air bass, rocking out to Flea’s rhythm on the hit single “Give It Away”. Twenty years later, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are still cranking out great music to a huge fan base and were just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On September 10, the Chili Peppers are scheduled to play a concert in Tel Aviv, Israel. The decision has caused quite a stir. More than 7,000 people have signed a petition calling on the band to cancel its performance in Israel. More than a dozen groups around the world have written letters calling on the band to cancel the show. I work with one of those groups.

Why would I call on a band I loved so much as a child, a band I still listen to today, to cancel a concert?

In 1948, my pregnant grandmother, countless relatives, and 750,000 other Palestinians were displaced from their homeland, making way for the creation of the state of Israel. My grandmother never saw her birthplace again, never picked another piece of fruit from her orchard, but spoke and dreamed of a dignified return until her final breath in 2009. Palestinians continue to languish in refugee camps; four million live under a system of increasingly brutal Israeli occupation, and 1.5 million Palestinians are relegated to second-class status inside of a state that is falsely presented as a democracy.

Boycott, divest and sanction

In 2005, Palestinian civil society, consisting of more than 170 unions, women’s organisations, cultural groups, academic institutions and nearly every other facet of society, called for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the state of Israel until it complied with three basic demands based on international law: an end to occupation, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and equal rights for Palestinians living inside of the state of Israel. Following the ethical, effective, and rights-based approach of cultural boycott against apartheid in South Africa, tens of thousands of voices in support of Palestinian rights have stated clearly: it is time to take action for freedom, justice, and equality.

Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese band scheduled to open for the Chili Peppers in Lebanon, cancelled its lucrative slot after band members were asked to pull out of the concert in protest to the Chili Peppers’ decision to play in Israel. A growing list of artists, including Bono, Santana, the late Gil Scott-Heron, Elvis Costello, Cat Power, the Klaxons, the Gorillaz, and the Pixies, have refused to cross the international picket line and have pulled out of scheduled shows. Roger Waters, frontman for Pink Floyd and human rights advocate, said the boycott call is “a perfectly legitimate, nonviolent… political tool” and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated in support of cultural boycott, “Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa… it would be wrong… to perform in Israel.”

What I have learned in my years as a spoken word performer is that art is not above politics. Reading my work in the Jim Crow South to an all-white audience would not have upended racism, nor would it have sparked a journey of introspection among the masses. The power of art lies with the oppressed, it wrote the freedom songs in South Africa, tuned the humming of prisoners in the H Blocks in Northern Ireland, and laced the chants against despotism in Tahrir Square.

Artists were targeted and shamed when they played Sun City in South Africa and lent aid to the image of the apartheid regime. This is why Boycott From Within, a group of Israelis, has called on the Chili Peppers to cancel their show. When art is used to bolster support for an oppressive state, when it is used to “present Israel’s prettier face” as an official for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs proclaimed in the New York Times, and when it used as a form of propaganda as stated by a former Israeli Foreign Ministry official – “I do not differentiate between hasbara [propaganda] and culture” – it is time for artists to end complicity.

Art alone cannot break down a wall that appropriates Palestinian land and resources, it cannot uproot illegal settlements, it cannot tear down checkpoints that restrict freedom of movement, it cannot release prisoners from administrative detention, and it cannot rebuild water wells. But artists and their art can inspire millions to take conscientious action against occupation and discrimination.

Towards justice

As the Chili Peppers concert date approaches, there are millions of people under Israeli rule who are unable to reach the concert simply because they are Palestinian. The Chili Peppers will not meet with Palestinians who worked in cultural centres attacked by the Israeli army, they will not hear the work of young recording artists who are separated by walls and checkpoints, and they won’t meet with the Palestinian hip hop artist who cancelled his tour because he was denied the right to leave his open-air prison. These details are left out of concert planning, but they are the daily reality for occupied, displaced, and oppressed Palestinians.

While I may not be that young kid strumming my air bass on my parents’ deck in Massachusetts, I still turn up the radio when the Chili Peppers come on. That is what makes writing these words so difficult. It is an easy choice to stand on the wrong side of history, when the history books have yet to be written. It is easy to call a show in Israel just another show when few accurately label Israel an apartheid state. At the moment, it still takes little effort to ignore the plight and call of millions of occupied Palestinians. But it is not the just stand. Martin Luther King once proclaimed, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”.

King was right. This week, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have the option to bend toward justice or enable oppression.

Do Music Reviews Matter To You?

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Arcade Fire’s new album, Reflektor, was the target of mercilessly negative reviews. But did any of them change the way people feel about the band and its music?

By Robin Hilton (npr)

Last week’s for the new record, Reflektor, sparked a conversation here in the All Songs Considered office about the weight of a writer’s words, and whether those words have any real effect on a band’s level of success (success in this case being album sales, or otherwise building a fan base).

Twenty years ago (or maybe less), a negative review in print could kill a band. One out of five stars (or a two out of 10) meant no one would buy the record and few people would turn out for live shows. In some cases it was the difference between a band getting picked up by a label or remaining forever unsigned, living mostly in oblivion.

These days, I’m not so sure negative reviews have as much of an effect. If someone wants to know whether or not they like a record, they’ll probably just listen to it online somewhere. It really depends on the band and where it is in its lifespan. A stellar, four- or five-star review for a new or emerging artist could be huge for them. It looks good in press releases and ads. Pull quotes end up on album cover stickers, and the otherwise casual listener might be more inclined to check out the music. For bigger, more established artists, such as Arcade Fire, a bad review probably isn’t going to change what fans think of the band or its music.

Regardless, more than anything, reviews — good or bad — get conversations going. Like Oscar Wilde said, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about” and last week everyone was talking about Arcade Fire. Even though many of the reviews were shockingly terrible (and in some cases, I think, ), even the casual listener is probably going to check out Reflektor just to see what the fuss is about.

But what do you think? Do you even read reviews? If so, do you decide what to listen to or avoid based on what you read? Are there any writers you particularly enjoy or trust more than others? Tell us in the comments section.

Thanks!

“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky