May the Force Be With You at Neil's Bahr

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Photos by Angelica Leicht
Yes, that is an AT-AT, and a nice one at that.
"Eat, sleep, game, repeat."

A tall, slick-haired guy whose black T-shirt is emblazoned with that very slogan pushes his way through this packed EaDo bar, but no one seems to mind. Most folks are giving him the thumbs-up, which seems strange given the density of the room. But he's earned a pass to part the nerd seas.

"Hey man, that's a sweet shirt," one admirer calls. "Where did you find that thing?"


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Kraftwerk at Riviera Theatre, Chicago, 3/27/2014

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Kraftwerk
Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL
March 27, 2014

Ja, ja, ja, mach schnell mit der art things, huh? I must get back to Dancecentrum in Stuttgart in time to see Kraftwerk.

Baron von Wortzenberger (that quote's from a Simpsons episode, in case you didn't know) had it easy. For us American Kraftwerk fans, getting to the legendary German electronica group's serially infrequent shows can be a chore, especially for those of us in the South. The band has hit the States a handful of times in the last decade, but only ventured below the Mason-Dixon line once (to Miami in 2011) and never closer to Houston than Denver (in 2008). In fact, I don't know if they've ever played a gig in H-Town.

Lead singer/keyboardist Ralf Hütter is the sole remaining founding member of the group, and he's pushing 70, so when I heard they were playing the Riviera in Chicago, I said, "Fuck it," sold a bunch of plasma, and bought tickets for the show. And because I love you people so very much, I decided to review the show for Rocks Off.


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The 10 Best Original Songs in Doctor Who

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Of course the main theme of Doctor Who has reached the same status as Star Wars and Star Trek when it comes to fame and recognizability. That's all well and good and as it should be, but from almost the very beginning the show has also snuck original song pop-song compositions into episodes that you may not have even noticed were specifically crafted for The Doctor.

Today we explore the ten best original songs that have appeared in 50 years of space and time.


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Real Riff Raff vs Impostor Riff Raff, a.k.a. JoDY HiGHROLLER

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Our fair city is getting an early holiday present, in the form of a thing called Riff Raff.

Riff Raff, a.k.a. Jody Highroller, will be gift-wrapping and delivering his syrupy, nonsensical rhymes at Warehouse Live this Sunday. We're excited, because Riff Raff's brand of nonsense is entertaining as hell; so are those cornrow-pigtails he's sporting as of late. He's kind of hilarious.

Even so, we have a bit of a quandary with Riff Raff's whole persona. We want to like the moniker, but we feel like we're cheating. You see, a long time ago, in a faraway place, there lived another Riff Raff, and he was freaking badass. For clarity's sake, we'll call this one Real Riff Raff. And we'll refer to rapper Riff Raff as Jody Highroller, because, well, we want to.


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The 10 Worst Album Covers to Get as Tattoos (NSFW)

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Photo by Dr_Colleen_Morgan
We like you guys. We like seeing you out at shows, and we like writing for you, even when we don't agree on the semantics of one blog or another. We're tight like that. You can hate on our lists, and we'll still think you're pretty cool.

But you know what's not cool? Ugly band tattoos, which seem to be an epidemic as of late. But don't worry. Because we like you, we're here to help keep you from making poor tattoo decisions. You know, like that misshapen Black Flag tattoo you're sporting on your forearm. Those are never a good idea. Neither was that blink-182 tattoo.

As a sort of PSA, we've compiled some more album art that will make for bad tattoos, so please pay attention. We don't want to have to hear you lamenting that unfortunate Death Grips tattoo next time we run into you.


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Let's Help These People Make a Fun Fun Fun Fest Love Connection

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Photos by Marco Torres
With the possible exception of traffic, there is no easier and worse place to fall in love than at a concert. There you are, minding your own business, soaking in the sounds, when you see that one person who just takes your breath away. You don't know anything about them other than that they make your heart race and that it's very likely they have good taste in music.

You make eye contact. They flash you a smile. You end up standing next to each other singing along. Everything is great and the world is a beautiful place. Then the show ends and you and the temporary object of your affection part ways, perhaps never to cross paths again.

When you consider the amount of people that hit a festival like Fun Fun Fun Fest, it's no surprise there were a ton of people who found love and then saw it walk out the festival gates.

Some of them refuse to let love walk away so easily.


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A Brief Musical History of Batman

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It's that ever-fascinating time again: the interstitial period between two eras of Batmen. As Christian Bale takes his leave and we welcome Ben Affleck to the cowl, it's a strange time for the Dark Knight. We've seen the way Bale and director Christopher Nolan portrayed him so darkly, and it's tough to imagine Affleck pulling that off. But if not that, then what? What will Batman's aesthetic be in the era of Affleck?

I'm not getting my hopes up, nor am I willing to speculate too much with the upcoming Superman vs. Batman movie so far away yet, but does feel like a good time to look back on the past aesthetics of the Caped Crusader. That includes the music which surrounds him.

Perhaps no superhero has been so inextricably connected to music, apart from Iron Man's built-in Black Sabbath connection. Batman exists in a league of his own, attracting the attention of major recording artists and composers alike. With that in mind, let's look back on some past eras of Bat-music.


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Amazon's AutoRip Features Delivers MP3s to Vinyl Shoppers

Categories: Nerd Alert

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Yes, even that Bruno Mars LP that you bought and don't tell anyone about.
If you have been shopping for vinyl on the Amazon site, you may have noticed the AutoRip logo. No, it is not Amazon making light of late-night purchases splitting your wallet at the seams. It's actually something very cool.

The digital retailer is touting the further expansion of its music-delivery service, which already makes digital copies of the albums you buy available to you at no cost after purchase. The service has now expanded farther out into vinyl albums.


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UPDATED: Battle of the Black Flags: Which One Is Better?

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UPDATE (Thursday, 11:22 a.m.): Ginn put out a press release this week saying that neither Robo nor Chuck Dukowski are part of his Black Flag. Dukowski remains in Keith Morris' FLAG, but Robo is not involved in either band. Greg Ginn's new Black Flag consists of himself, Ron Reyes, drummer Greg Moore of Ginn's former band GONE, and Dale Nixon -- a pseudonym for Ginn himself -- in the bass spot.

This past week the Internet was abuzz with the news that two different versions of the 1980s hardcore-punk pioneers Black Flag are reuniting. Since Black Flag is so iconic to almost any punk fan, this is big news indeed. But there's a catch: Neither of the two versions is the complete, real version of Black Flag.

Of course, as anybody who knows Black Flag also knows, the band had a wildly inconsistent, ever-changing, revolving-door lineup through the years. Aside from guitarist and founder Greg Ginn, few members have remained from one record to the next. So with that in mind, who can say what the "real" Black Flag is?

Which, I suppose, is why we now have two different bands. The question is, if we had the opportunity to see only one Black Flag, which one would we, as fans, want to see? Which is the blackest, flaggest one of them all? We'll break it down for you.


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Put a (Super Bowl) Ring On It: The Beyoncé Set List We'd Like to See

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Photo by Daniel Kramer
Beyoncé at Toyota Center, 2009
Remember when it actually seemed halfway likely that the Texans could make the Super Bowl this season? Ha! Good times. After the team's collapse down the stretch, highlighted by a couple of humiliating losses to Tom Brady and pals, the only way Matt Schaub will be in the Superdome on this coming Sunday is if he buys a ticket. Might want to hurry, too, because the game may sell out.

Luckily, Houston will still be represented on the field at the Big Game by a far worthier ambassador. The one and only Beyoncé will be the star of the annual halftime spectacular, and unlike some other locals we could name, she's a proven clutch performer.

As the date draws nearer, our imaginations are starting to race. We already know Destiny's Child will make an appearance, and you can probably pencil in Jay-Z at some point too. Could there be other special guests in the offing? Justin Timberlake? Gwyneth Paltrow? Michelle Obama?

And oh my God, what will Bey be wearing?


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