Tag Archives: Concert

Coldplay Colors the IZOD Center – August 3, 2012

6 Aug

The Glow at the IZOD Center

Every concert emits a certain aura, whether it is a laid-back coffe-shop jazz quartet or a head-banging arena show. For more than a decade, Coldplay has colored crowds with concerts that near reckless joy, leaving sold-out audiences with permanent grin marks. The current Mylo Xyloto tour is more of the same, and for a Coldplay concert virgin, I must say I wasn’t wrong in my effusive confidence that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

I was blown away by Coldplay’s ability to perform a concert with tremendous production value that does not take away from the music (but rather adds to the songs). In calculated moments, props were added to songs (beach balls, glowing blown-up shapes, confetti), and these elements added color to the rainbow rays of laser light that shot around the IZOD center in New Jersey on Friday. The true bulk of the entire production was colored remote-controlled bracelets that were electronically lit up at certain points of the show, creating a multi-colored graffiti of light that brightened the dark and flashed collectively as the sold out arena aided lead singer Chris Martin with every lyric.

Graffiti, the theme of Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto and their current tour, is generally considered disorganized and splotchy. But when you look through the lines of sprayed color and chalky pictures, it is not difficult to see a hint of togetherness in the art. This is what was perhaps most striking about the concert. There was an incredible element of family and togetherness, and the band played to this successfully.

It is Coldplay’s comfort on the stage that has most likely influenced their staying power. While they may not be flawless performers, they are damn near close. Martin’s voice is unchanged from recordings to stage, and I always respect a vocalist who is actually a damn good vocalist. The music was tremendous throughout the 21-song set. The acoustics of the IZOD center are a little better than decent. The sound can get a little absorbed by the stadium creating a slight echo that drowns out some of the bass. It was obviously best when, in the encore, the band, who had now moved to a mock side stage in the right stands (lucky people who had seats there), slowly added instruments.

Of the entire set, “The Scientist” stood out to me. It was not only because of my absolute enjoyment of that song, but also the loud sing-along that overcame Martin at times. But, who am I kidding, the entire show was pretty much a joint sing-along. “The Scientist” was followed by an acoustic performance of “Yellow.” Did you know “Yellow” is more than a decade old. Wow. I realized that during the show as I sang it with reckless abandon of my vocal chords. My chops took further shots during “Clocks” and “Fix You,” and, heck, I’ll admit it, “Viva La Vida” and the concert finale “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.”  

Say what you want. Say the band sold out from its Brit-piano-pop roots. I wouldn’t call what Coldplay did selling out. They evolved. And this was quite evident by the diverse crowd at the show. 30-40-year-olds mixed with 14-15-year-olds singing past and present songs like they were part of a church choir. Coldplay’s electro-pop Mylo Xyloto was just one more notch in Coldplay’s belt. The next album and tour will certainly be even more creative, and I am looking forward to attending.

Coldplay Plays the Izod Tonight – August 3 – Great Cover of Fix You

3 Aug

Why does Coldplay get such a bad rap? It’s an odd phenomenon. I’ve heard a lot of “old” Coldplay fans say that current albums have become loud, mainstream messes, and thus they have been turned off by the band. You see, I actually see it differently. I think Coldplay is a perfect example of a band that can bend mainstream music to fit their own brand of piano-infused spacious rock. I think they have found a way to be mainstream relevant (duets with Jay Z and Rhianna, for example), and still extraordinarily talented. Since 1996, Coldplay has been creating infectious pop/rock tunes, and they have gained a growing following that mixes young and old listeners. Their music is enjoyable and marketable. We should be commending them, not censuring them.

I will be making the traffic-fueled trip from Long Island to New Jersey tonight to see Coldplay on night one of their two-day sojourn at the Izod center. I have peeked at the set-lists of recent performances, and they perform a mix of material from their new album Mylo Xyloto and some staples like “Fix You,” “The Scientist,” and “Clocks.” I wonder if they might change it up a little bit since they are performing two nights. As long as they play my favorite Coldplay song, “The Scientist,” I will be happy.

To prepare myself for the concert tonight, I’ve been listening to some Coldplay songs (even though it does seem rather ridiculous because I am going to hear them all again later). As I was listening to “Fix You,” I came across an excellent cover performed by Boyce Avenue, a band of three multi-instrumentalist brothers from Florida. They play this cover of “Fix You” with Tyler Ward, and demonstrate excellent vocal harmonies. And, damn, it doesn’t matter who performs it, that climaxing guitar riff in the middle of the song is so incredible. It was really a strike of genius from Coldplay. Chris Martin, lead vocalist of Coldplay, wrote this lyric for his wife, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, when her father died.  He has called the song, “the most important song we’ve ever written.”

Here is the cover by Boyce Avenue. Enjoy.

I’m Not Dead Yet

23 Aug

Thank you Monty Python. As you have noticed, I have not posted in a few days. I just want to assure you that I’m not dead yet, and contrary to public opinion, I will not be soon. You see, I’ve just been busy lately and this has thwarted me from posting. I know, real sob story. Seriously, though, I love posting. I take enjoyment in having the ability to bring you quality posts about good music. Quality is the key word there. Can I post everyday? Yes, a quick video and a “this song is good” can get me five posts a day. But I believe that every post should have some value, even if it is a brief reminder that I am not dead, just busy.

Tomorrow night may be the death of me, actually. Okay, that is an over-exaggeration. After work, I am joining my sister and mother to view an American Idol concert. Yeah, the post-TV live concerts the group of singers put on for fans of the show. I plan on writing a review for the blog, so hold tight. Look, I enjoy American Idol. It has become understandably predictable and somewhat trite, but I still watch it religiously every season. Perhaps it is because the show has become a family activity. Or, maybe there is something inherently wrong with me. Either or. What I do know is that I am interested in seeing the concert tomorrow.

Also, I have another concert review to write. So, expect two concert reviews in the upcoming days. I hope to get them both out this week. Before I slip off to dreamworld, I do want to leave you with a song. I was going to post a clever song about being busy, but when I thought of potential songs all I could think of posting to the blog is:

Random, right? There is something about this Warren Zevon song that always has worked for me. Perhaps it is his subtle humor. Maybe it is simply the fact that it is a great song with great lyrics. Heck, it did spark a movie title. You know what I do know?

“LeRoy says there’s something you should know
Not everybody has a place to go
And home is just a place to hang your head
And dream of things to do in Denver when you’re dead”

Somehow that makes a whole lot of sense. Okay, a lot of Zevon sense!

David Gray and Ray LaMontagne: Hard-Workin’ and Tourin’

15 Aug

When you think of the top folk singer-songwriter’s producing music today, David Gray and Ray LaMontagne appear on the list. And, when you add the hard working sentiment, there are not many current artists who can beat them.

Gray and LaMontagne begin their joint 16-city Summer/Fall tour tonight in Columbia, MD and both release their new albums the following day. Hard working? David Gray is technically still on his Draw The Line tour celebrating the album he released last September. Tomorrow, he will release a double album entitled Foundling and it’s all new material. This is a musician who has a song entitled, “Life in Slow Motion.” Yeah, Gray, somehow it don’t feel real.

And, don’t forget about Ray LaMontagne.

Lamontagne (second from the left) --- courtesy of the artist

LaMontagne’s God Willin’ And The Creek Don’t Rise, named after the Benjamin Hawkins phrase (http://ngeorgia.com/ang/God_Willing_and_the_creek_don%27t_rise), was recorded in only two weeks at LaMontagne’s sylvan home in western Massachusetts. It’s not rushing…sometimes a recording session is just efficient. Well, with LaMontagne’s newly formed Pariah Dogs consisting of Jay Bellarose on drums, Jennifer Condos on bass, Patrick Warren on keys, Eric Heywood on guitar and Greg Leisz on steel guitar, it is hard not to make good music.

God Willin’ is LaMontagne’s fourth studio album and is the first one he has produced by himself. The sound? Calm folk/country, mixed with little portions of LaMontagne’s trademark swing (the first song “Repo Man” is loud). If you like LaMontagne’s soul (music type of soul) this should be in line with expectations.

Review of the album: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128986999

David Gray

Like I said above, Foundling, is a double album. Why he is producing so much music? “A very fertile recording session,” said Gray. Seriously, dude, like rabbits. “These are some of the most dynamic recordings I’ve ever done,” he says. This is all good news for David Gray fans. His brand of folk-rock is infectious and, does not receive any where close to the commercial success it should. Get ready. This release will be good.

Review: http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2010-08-15-david-gray_N.htm

The Tour

Below I will post the full list of dates. I hope to possibly go and see them on the 19th but I will see how that goes. If you do have the opportunity to see them, go. This is a productive combination of musicians.

August 2010
15 – Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
17 – Mansfield, MA – Bank of America Pavilion
19 – Wantagh, NY – Nikon @ Jones Beach
20 – Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center
22 – Nashville, TN – Grand Ole Opry
25 – Chicago, IL – Millennium Park
26 – Rochester, MI – Meadow Brook Theatre
29 – Council Bluffs, IA – Stir Cover @ Harrah’s Council Bluffs
30 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
31 – Santa Fe, NM – Santa Fe Opera House

September 2010
1 – Phoenix, AZ – Dodge Theatre
3 – Las Vegas, NV – The Pearl
4 – Valley Center, CA – Harrahs Rincon
5 – Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Bowl
8 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
10 – Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre

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