Maybe It's Time to Retire the Term "Boy Band"

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Photos by Jack Gorman (unless indicated)
The real stars of last Friday's One Direction concert
One week ago today, tens of thousands of Houston's biggest One Direction fans -- most of them accompanied by their parents -- flocked to the gates of NRG Stadium, toting signs, glow sticks, and homemade T-shirts. It was strange to realize that only 13 years ago, I was on my way to watch 'NSYNC perform on their PopOdyssey Tour at the Astrodome, now run down and dwarfed by its newer neighbor.

What was even more surreal, however, was realizing that though the Dome is a monster, its capacity would have never been large enough to house the crowds hoping to catch a glimpse of the world's biggest act on their current tour. Then or now, it's not likely that any other band would have been able to pull the same size crowd.

Then again, a lot has changed for pop music in the last decade.


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Just Give Blue Ivy Carter All the VMAs, Please

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MTV
Are we tired of twerking yet?
Sunday night was the billionth year for the MTV Video Music Awards, and only one thing can be taken away from the whole unfunny shebang: just give Blue Ivy Carter all of the VMAs, now and forever, and let's be done with the whole thing. Seriously.

So in case you were wondering (or were smart enough to skip it), the whole show -- from Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" yawn-fest to Miley Cyrus' well-intentioned but still somehow totally stunt-queen stand-in antics -- was just kinda meh. Everything but Blue of course, but we'll get to that. Here's what happened.

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One Direction at NRG Stadium, 8/22/2014

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Photos by Jack Gorman
One Direction, Five Seconds of Summer
NRG Stadium
August 22, 2014

To thrive, boy bands need the right combination of personality and passion. Good songs help too, but you can get away with decent music (at best) if the members of the group have enough charisma.

Personality goes a long way, and with enough of it people will fall head over heels for you, they'll scream themselves hoarse for you, they'll make posters for you and, most importantly, they'll spend lots and lots of money on you...or at least get their parents or legal guardians to do so. NRG Stadium saw an abundance of personality and passion under its roof Friday night, as the two biggest boy bands around and thousands and thousands of their biggest local fans spent the final Friday before school starts together.

Thanks to One Direction and Five Seconds of Summer, there are going to be a lot kids keeping quiet come Monday. Screaming wears a voice out.


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Prepare Yourself: One Direction Comes to Houston Tomorrow

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The world is an often dark and ugly place. Ferguson. James Foley. Ebola: things that we'd all like to avoid, but things we can't (and shouldn't) ignore, at least not in this hypermedia age that we live in.

That's not to say that the times we live in are worse than any other times, just that we've never had as much access to misery at our fingertips as we do now. Which might explain why at least a few of us are looking forward to escaping the darkness, if only for a few hours, at the biggest concert event of the year.

Yes, we're talking about the big One Direction show at NRG Stadium tomorrow night, a show so massive it's hard to believe that it exists. But of course it does. We all need some light in our life.


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We Nominate in the Ice Bucket Challenge...

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Challenge accepted.
Even in today's viral culture, this "Ice Bucket Challenge" to raise money for ALS research has taken many by surprise. Instead of quickly blowing over like so many digital fads, this one continues to yield more famous (and not-so-famous) people getting doused on Facebook and YouTube every day. Apparently now everybody has to do it (see above).

The phenomenon -- which is actually more than a month old but has hit critical mass within the past week -- has been largely propelled by athletes, entertainers and members of the media. Therefore, cynics might suggest the challenge is just a way for narcissistic attention-seekers to get some cheap publicity without doing much more than whip out their checkbooks (if that). But ALS has felled a lot more people than just the ballplayer from whom it takes its better-known nickname of Lou Gehrig's Disease -- such as the musicians Charles Mingus and Leadbelly, and perhaps someone close to you or your family.

So it's all in good fun and for a most worthy cause, but let's be real: The challenge has caught on mostly because watching someone get a freezing bucket of water dumped over his or her head will never lose its appeal. Right here, as a matter of fact, we can think of a number of people in the Houston music community we'd love to see get drenched...and wouldn't you know it, here they are. Just doing our part.


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Paramore & Fall Out Boy at The Woodlands, 8/1/2014

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Photos by Francisco Montes
Paramore
MONUMENTOUR featuring Paramore, Fall Out Boy & New Politics
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
August 1, 2014

Haters gonna hate, but Paramore and Fall Out Boy make great rock music. Any band that gained notoriety during the post-pop-punk-emo boom of the mid-2000s has been pigeonholed into a very specific category -- namely, much of the general public doesn't consider them to be credible rock and roll.

Fall Out Boy has certainly experienced a great deal of this backlash, despite continuing to mature as a group and output good music. Many of the bands of that era could not grow past it; Paramore and Fall Out Boy, who are co-headlining this summer's MONUMENTOUR, are both talented exceptions. Touring together was a wise and logical choice.


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Five More Musicians Who Need Emojis

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Photo by Marco Torres
Ghostface Killah, circa-2011, pre-emoji.
Last week a new app launched called Hi-Art that birthed unto the world a new round of emojis, including musician-based ones. The most notable name was Ghostface Killah because, well, I think we can all agree that we'd rather text a Ghostface emoji than one of Jason Derulo.

This is only the first round, of course, so I can't help but wonder who we're going to get next from Hi-Art. I mean, if this is all the first pack has to offer, they may need some suggestions on where to go next. In the spirit of that, here are five more I'd like to see end up on the app sooner rather than later.


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Tags:

apps, Emojis

The 20 Most Beautiful People at Electric Daisy Carnival 2014

Note: this article is a gift from our good friends at LA Weekly and OC Weekly.

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All photos by Christopher Victorio
You thought only homely people went to Electric Daisy Carnival this past weekend? Think again! This year, per usual, the bold and the beautiful made their way to Las Vegas for parties that lasted all night long.

Here are the concertgoers, shot by Christopher Victorio, whom we found particularly enchanting.


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UPDATED: The Best and Worst Things at EDC Las Vegas 2014

Note: Our L.A. Weekly sister blog West Coast Sound sent a team to the Electric Daisy Carnival, this weekend's EDM extravaganza in Las Vegas. This article was written by Dennis Romero.

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Photos courtesy of LA Weekly
UPDATE (June 25, 1:45 p.m.): See correction at end. What's it like partying with 134,000 of your closest friends?

After a fourth year covering Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, the size and scope of America's largest electronic dance music festival (and, really, one of the country's largest music events, period) still just leaves us breathless.

This is the definition of massive. That this culture has gone from warehouse raves with one laser and a few hundred people to a 1,500-acre event so large that the only way to avoid an hour-plus worth of traffic is to arrive by helicopter is astonishing, especially if you were part of the scene in its early days.

What's not to like? We'll start with the worst:


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Raver's Death at EDC Vegas Under Investigation

Note: Our L.A. Weekly sister blog West Coast Sound sent a team to the Electric Daisy Carnival, this weekend's EDM extravaganza in Las Vegas. This article was written by Dennis Romero.

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Photos by Christopher Victorio/Courtesy of LA Weekly
The Clark County Coroner is investigating the death of a 24-year-old who collapsed outside Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas Saturday morning.

An autopsy was being conducted this weekend, but results aren't yet available to the media, an official at the coroner's office told us. If drug use is suspected, it's likely that a cause-of-death determination will be put off until investigators get their hands on toxicology test results.

The raver, who collapsed outside the three-day festival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, was identified as Montgomery Tsang of San Leandro, Calif. He was pronounced dead at a University Hospital at 6:15 a.m. Saturday, authorities said.


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