Idol Wired >> Backstage with ‘American Idol’s’ Erika Van Pelt

Continue reading Idol Wired >> Backstage with ‘American Idol’s’ Erika Van Pelt

Concert Review >> fun. Live at The Independent in San Francisco, CA 03.28.2012

Fun.’s Nate Ruess, Jack Antonoff, and Andrew Dost brought their latest record, Some Nights, to life in front of a sold out San Francisco audience.

Continue reading Concert Review >> fun. Live at The Independent in San Francisco, CA 03.28.2012

RECAP: Panic! At The Disco LIVE at Ace of Spades

I legitimately have a fear of bridges. However, I also have a passion for live music. To get to Ace of Spades in Sacramento on October 10 to see Panic! At The Disco, I drove over  not just one bridge, but two bridges. I wouldn’t do that for just any band. I attended my first P!ATD show back in June, and ever since I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to see them live again, even if it meant reminding myself to breathe while driving over water.

Foxy Shazam kicked off the evening at Ace of Spades. This is a band that I feel like whatever I say would be an injustice to their live show. You have to experience them yourself to truly witness what a trip they are. I’m not versed in their music at all, but I definitely was entertained by their set.

credit: KirstenCoachman.comNext up was Patrick Stump, lead singer of Fall Out Boy, sporting a whole new look and a ridiculously awesome new sound. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from him. The last time I saw Patrick Stump was back  in 2006, when Fall Out Boy was touring with All-American Rejects. You can imagine my surprise when I saw this seemingly shy lead singer take to the stage as a confident solo artist. Let alone while rockin’ an electric blue suit, complete with a bow tie and black fingerless gloves.

I have always thought when lead singers break out and go solo that they have to make sure that they can turn heads and hold people’s attention. Well Patrick Stump, I’m paying attention.

I don’t think I’ve ever been mesmerized so quickly by an artist before. Everything from Patrick’s music, to his band, to his stage presence was absolutely fantastic.

Off the bat with “Spotlight (New Regrets)” to “Run Dry (X Heart X Fingers)” and “Allie”;  I don’t think I’ve had more fun boppin-a-long to songs that I had no clue what the lyrics were. But the arrangements and beats were incredible.  And Patrick’s voice is definitely channeling Michael Jackson, Prince and a dash of Bowie, but it really works for him. I really cannot fully express enough how much I enjoyed his set. It was more than I could have ever expected, and truly was one of the standout moments of the evening.

And on to the main event, Panic! At The Disco! A couple of days before the show, it had been announced that lead singer Brendon Urie was really sick, but he kicked off the band’s set with guns blazing!

credit: KirstenCoachman.comEven though the set list was very similar to the show I attended back in June, this show was an entirely different experience for me. In June, I maybe knew one or two P!ATD songs, at best. After being completely captivated by their live show, I went out and bought Vices & Virtues immediately, as well as the band’s first two records. For the most part, I’ve been playing nothing, but P!ATD since then in my car.

There’s a world of difference between observing a band and their fans and experiencing a band as one of their fans. Being able to sing back lyrics and feed off the energy in the room made for one of the best live shows I’ve ever experienced.

I thought Panic! sounded fantastic. I continue to be impressed by Brendon’s vocal prowess and how he just commands the stage like a true frontman. The band seems to love and appreciate their fans just as much or even possibly more than their fans love them.

I really got a kick out of bassist, Dallon Weekes, who went from hyping up the crowd to flying out into the sea of people before him during the band’s cover of The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.” Check out the video I took of the performance below, complete with Dallon crowd-surfing.

What I really enjoyed about P!ATD’s set was that it really had a flow to it. There was a great balance between songs from their current record and A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. Slowing down their set with “Always,” leading into “Nine in the Afternoon” and “That Green Gentlemen” from Pretty. Odd. allowed the crowd just enough time to re-energize when the music picked back up.The band put together a set list that makes sense and really kept their audience enthralled throughout the course of the show.

So, was it worth the trip that took me over two terrifying (IMO) bridges to see P!ATD rock it out? Most definitely! I know I arrived late to the party with this band, but I’m happy I finally made it. (Super cheesy, I know!)

All in all, what a fantastic night of music!

Video source: 1,2

Backstage with ‘American Idol’s’ Stefano Langone

Before the Top 11 contestants from the tenth season of American Idol took the stage at the HP Pavilion in San Jose on July 13, I had the opportunity to sit down for a one-on-one interview with Washington native, Stefano Langone.

Langone and I talked about the current tour, his post-tour plans, and his advice for the American Idol season 11 hopefuls.

How has the tour been going so far?

The tour’s been going great. We’re getting some great reviews. Just trying to establish myself as one of the top-notch performers. Everything’s been working out.

So you tried out for Idol initially in San Francisco, and now you’re performing tonight in the Bay Area, how does it feel to kind of come full circle?

All of my family’s from the Bay Area. I’m really, really pumped to perform tonight. There’s going to be a lot of Langones in the house.

Stefano Langone live in Oakland, CA - credit: Karen DatangelWhat has been the most fulfilling part of the tour so far for you?

Just getting to see the crowd’s reaction, and getting to see the fans after the show. My goal really is to make a name for myself, and really show people who they voted for and just making more fans, you know? Creating a buzz and making sure I establish what I want to do after the show. Unfortunately I didn’t get to pick the songs that I wanted to do, and I didn’t get to perform in the way I wanted to, but I’m taking what I’ve got and I’m making the best of it. I’m going out there and giving great performances and that’s number one.

Having to perform the same set every night on tour, how do you stay amped for each show?

It’s the crowd. The crowd keeps you hyped up; you can always count on that. You can’t get sucked into the, “Ugh, I’m doing this again.” You can’t get sucked into it; you’ve got to realize what you’re doing it for and why you’re here. It’s about the music and about your performances.

Continue reading Backstage with ‘American Idol’s’ Stefano Langone

Backstage With ‘American Idol’s’ Paul McDonald

Last Wednesday, hours before the Top 11 from American Idol season 10 took the stage at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, I had the opportunity to talk with one of the more unique and interesting voices from this past season.

Cool, calm, and collected, 26-year-old Paul McDonald from Nashville, spoke candidly about the American Idols Live! Tour, including which contestant fell victim to the first tour prank of the summer, and working on his solo music while out on the road.

How has the tour been going?

It’s been excellent so far. We’re only like, I think, five shows in, and we got about a thousand more to go. [laughs] We go through September, and we do a handful of Canada dates, maybe one or two. Then they take us over to the Philippines.

Wow, I’m pretty sure that’s a first with taking the tour overseas. What has been the most fulfilling part of the tour for you so far?

Oh goodness. I guess it’s just the whole vibe of pretending that we’re real rock stars for the summer. We’re singing karaoke and stuff, but the production is like a huge tour. We have six buses, six semis, we have catering, we have the whole VIP kind of like a very pro tour. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, unless you’re the Rolling Stones, or Bruce Springsteen, or Carrie Underwood, or one of those, you know? So, it’s kind of cool to be in that for just a little bit and see how this grand scale of venues and touring works. It’s cool.

Do you have any kind of fun bus stories from the tour so far?

Fun bus stories? Oh gosh, I’m trying to think. We really don’t hang out on the bus too much, because they literally have us working from [about] noon. This morning I got up at like eight-thirty, we went to the Ronald McDonald House, me and Casey. We did some charity, we hung out with the kids, came back and had hair and make-up, which I don’t do any of that stuff. After that we have lunch, and then we have sound check. We go from normally from 12 noon to 12 at night. The only bus time is after the gig we go in there and like have a drink and pass out, but there has been a good story.

The first gig in Salt Lake City, Jacob Lusk decided to take a shower in the locker room — we’re playing all these big basketball arenas and stuff — and I was like, “Let me show you how it’s done fellas.” This is like “Band Pranks 101.” I got the bucket of ice, and all of us, Scotty and everybody, filled it up with ice-cold water. Jacob’s in the shower singing, you know, doing his thing. We walked in there and Casey’s filming it, and came in and just busted him with an ice cold bucket of water, and he was like, “Ahhhhh!” I was like, day one, the tour pranks begin.

Continue reading Backstage With ‘American Idol’s’ Paul McDonald

Backstage with ‘American Idol’s’ James Durbin

Hours before the Top 11 from American Idol season 10 took the stage at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, I had the opportunity to talk with a certain Idol contestant that was extremely excited and happy to be back in his neck of the woods.

Santa Cruz native, James Durbin and I sat down backstage for a pre-show chat, where he discussed getting the crowd up and on their feet during the tour, writing and recording for his album, and the episode of Idol that neither of us will be forgetting anytime soon.

So how does it feel to be performing in the Bay Area?

It feels great. We did Oakland last night, and that was insane. I’m really excited for tonight.

It has to be a cool feeling to have tried out for the show in San Francisco, and have this full circle kind of moment.

This place, HP Pavilion, I came to my very first sporting event here. It was the Sharks versus the Avalanche. I was five-years-old, packed arena, and out of every single person, my one seat, I won a CD player. And then a hockey puck got hit over [the barrier] and landed right next to me. Unfortunately the Sharks lost, but two out of three things ain’t bad.

I’ve been here so many times. I’ve seen countless wrestling shows here. I once waited for three hours and climbed on top of that cement wall to catch a glimpse of Chris Jericho. Now I have him on speed dial. We were just texting and he’s in Europe with his band touring. We went and saw Rod Stewart, Stevie Nicks, Poison, and Motley Crue, and hang out all the time. It’s so crazy, it’s a full swing.

Very cool. Have you been able to get back to Santa Cruz while you’re here, or does everyone kind of have to come to you?

Everyone’s had to come here. I’m dying to go to Socrates and get a sandwich, but unfortunately not, which really sucks. It’s a twenty minute cab ride. I could grab lunch and come back.

So, how has the tour been going so far with the handful of shows you’ve done so far?

This will only be our sixth show out of forty-seven. It already feels like it’s been awhile, but it’s only been a blink. But, it’s gone really good; every show’s been great. Everyone’s been really receptive, everyone’s there to have a good time. Sometimes they need to be reminded that they’re supposed to have a good time. A lot of people have been sitting down.

You know, I’ve gone to a handful of Idol tours, and sometimes people treat the live show like they’re at home watching y’all on TV, instead of embracing the vibe of being at a concert.

I know some people get agitated if people are standing up, Sit down! We’re trying to watch the show! It’s a concert; you’re supposed to stand up! We enjoy it when you stand. That’s why when I come out for my set, I come out through the crowd. I want people to stand up! Stand up! Try and find me!

Continue reading Backstage with ‘American Idol’s’ James Durbin

Concert Review >> American Idols Live! in San Jose, CA 07.13.2011

This week the American Idols Live! tour rolled through San Jose, CA to the delight of the masses who showed up to see one particular Santa Cruz native by the name of James Durbin. Just the mere mention of his name at the top of the show by season 10 runner-up, Lauren Alaina, resulted in an eruption of cheers from the crowd.

And I must say that Durbin didn’t disappoint. He appeared in a couple group numbers during the first half of the show, but it was his entrance for his two-song set that had the audience at the HP Pavilion on its feet.

Entering from the back of the building wearing a San Jose Sharks jersey, singing Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’Mine,” Durbin shook hands as he made his way up to the stage. Towards the end of the song he held his microphone out to the audience and, without any real prodding, they sang the chorus back to him. I have to hand it to Durbin. He’s charismatic, has great stage presence, and absolutely relished every moment of his solo performance, wherein he took the time to thank the fans for voting for him and for the overall support he received from the Bay Area.

But Durbin wasn’t the only Idol who amped up the crowd. Paul McDonald got the people on their feet in the first half of the show during his lively performance of Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” Naima Adedapo’s rousing rendition of Jennifer Lopez’s current hit, “On The Floor,” complete with an African dance break, was one of the most well-received performances of the night.

Continue reading Concert Review >> American Idols Live! in San Jose, CA 07.13.2011

Video: Darren Criss Backstage at Irving Plaza

Check out a couple behind the scenes backstage videos from Darren Criss’ show at Irving Plaza from last month!

Part two after the jump! Continue reading Video: Darren Criss Backstage at Irving Plaza