12/03/13 Music & Concerts
By SEAN DALY • Times Pop Music Critic
Certain singers were born to croon Christmas carols. Some singers you just want to hear belt Joy to the World. It's why Josh Groban's 2007 album Noel was the No. 1 seller — in any musical genre — that year. You may dislike his poperatic gush, but the wavy-haired dreamboat sure sounded divine unloading O Come All Ye Faithful, didn't he?...
This trailer doesn't reveal much, or anything, about The Walking Dead's Season 4 second-half return on Feb. 9, 2014. Looks like the crew -- with the help of Hershel, without the menace of the Governor -- is busting a Willie Nelson, on the road again. We get a few zombie hijinks. We see a ticked-off Carl, who might just go full Rambo now that his baby sister Judith is dead (or is she?). The only pure tease is a final image of Carl unable to wake dad Rick from a couchly slumber. What's up with that? Will Carol come back? Will Michonne and Daryl finally hook up? Who will the new villain be? Guess we'll find out in a couple months......
So much for The Walking Dead pulling its slow-pace punches in Season 4, eh? Egads. In a carousel of carnage, the midseason finale of AMC's gore-soaked phenom saw both Good and Evil getting snuffed out by an ominous Other, the stark looming reality of the zombie apocalypse. We're all goners, boys and girls (and babies?!); it's just a matter of how long you keep dancing through the undead. The hour was One Giant Spoiler, yowza entertainment, a body count to die for....
12/01/13 Music & Concerts
TAMPA — For a rapper who is always sermonizing, or something, it makes sense that verbose visionary Kanye West travels with his own mount, a cartoonish summit that took up the main stage at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Saturday. 'Ye also rolls with his own berobed flock, who, it should be noted, also disrobed. He is Yeezus, saint and sinner — cue the religious imagery and the persecution and more explicit bedroom predilections than a 7-Eleven girlie mag....
AMC and the folks on The Walking Dead are promising that "some will fall" during Sunday's midseason brouhaha between Rick & Co. and the Governor & Co. The last time the One Eyed Gov went after the prison, the bloodshed and brouhaha were minimal, a total letdown. Showrunner Scott Gimple and the writers have had a topsy-turvy one-step-forward season, but despite their creative indecision, they must know they need to doink someone. You can't keep having wars without casualties. That said, I have a feeling that Hershel's going down. Whenever a character represents goodness and hope -- well, they usually bite the dust. Dale, Sophia, that nice hippie couple a couple weeks ago. With Hershel 86'd, the show can follow that dark, doomy path that Gimple and his cohorts so want to go down. Besides, if they jettison Michonne or Daryl, this season's already dipping ratings are going to nosedive....
Before Angus Young dressed up in a schoolboy suit, the wee guitar giant strapped on Superman's cape. No kidding: He was "Super Ang," one of myriad on-stage guises AC/DC's lead hellion tried on before settling into his iconic academic uni — and shaking the world all night long.
"At one point he had even affected a Zorro look," writes Mick Wall in a bawdy new bio on the bluesy crew, "replete with mask and cape, drawing a plastic sword across his guitar strings in pantomime emulation of Jimmy Page's use of a violin bow in parts of Led Zeppelin's show."...
A few months ago, I had the chance to interview Steve Martin, who was coming to St. Pete with his banjo gang. I was instructed to keep the chat focused on music, but at the very end, I snuck in a quick thank-you for 1987's Planes, Trains & Automobiles, the Thanksgiving road movie written and directed by the late, great John Hughes and co-starring the equally missed John Candy. It was THE bonding flick for my father and me; we'd quote it constantly ("What do you think the temperature is?" "One.")...
11/26/13 Music & Concerts
"I'm the biggest of all of them. I'm the No. 1 rock star on the planet."
Kanye West, 2013, Time
Kanye West is a rapper, of course, not a rocker. And yet, the most polarizing person in pop these days wasn't entirely delusional (at least not about this) when he called himself the "No. 1 rock star" in Time magazine.
What he meant, in his typically robust braggadocio, was that the 21-time Grammy winner belongs in elite company with music's brashest iconoclasts. He's that rare "rock star" breed who says what he wants, does what he wants, and yet has the talent and unique vision to back it up....
If I were a superstar, and Vanity Fair asked me to take the Proust Questionnaire, and I had to answer who my hero was, I'd totally say: "Cookie Monster." That's a good life right there. Reliable paycheck, googly eyes, delish addiction -- plus the blue dude's comedic chops are top-notch. Just look at his awesome new 'Catching Fire' spoof. (Peeta is now a talking piece of pita bread! Love it!) Bless those smartaleck saints at Sesame Street for raising our kids right. And bless you Cookie for all that you do. You've earned those morsels, my friend. You've earned them....
11/25/13 Music & Concerts
There was something inherently fascinating, downright voyeuristic, in peering over the shoulder of a regal French horn player, clad in a crisp tuxedo, as he emptied his spit valve over and over again. Thwapp! ¶ I couldn't look away — except when I was spying on a clarinetist as she quickly swapped reeds and flipped sheet music mere seconds before her next entrance in Dvorak's Symphony No. 8. A few feet away, I was a nervous wreck (hurry it up, lady!). She, however, was flawless....
You might remember Jonathan Groff as the duplicitous, but dreamy, Jesse St. James on Glee, where the Broadway star was reunited with Spring Awakening pal Lea Michele. In January, the 28-year-old Lancaster, Pa., native will get his shot at a bigger, potentially breakout, TV role, starring in HBO dramedy Looking. The series, which launches Jan. 19, follows a wise-cracking crew of gay men seeking love and lust in modern-day San Francisco. Sad but true zinger: "Instagram filters have ruined everything and I can’t tell if this guy is hot or not." Here's the steamy trailer:...
"I should have taken some golf lessons." WHAM! And all was right with the world. Perhaps the Governor (aka One Eyed Bri aka Brian Heriot aka the worst golf coach ever) was in a "fugue state" a la Breaking Bad's Walter White last week, when The Walking Dead's most awesomely heinous villain was suddenly a decent chap, shuffling about seeking solace and redemption.
Because THIS week, after a few creepy "pumpkins" with his newfangled daughter Megan, the Gov shockingly returned to form -- and so did the No. 1 show on cable TV. Gadzooks, gorehounds. These have been woefully uneven days in the zombie apocalypse, but hoo boy, did Episode 7 deliver with chills and thrills (and underwater zombies, always a good sign). The Gov was rescued from a pit of undead awfulness by old lieutenant Martinez, who warily took his old boss into a new safehaven. Bad for you; good for us....
11/20/13 Music & Concerts
Going to an Eagles concert these days is not unlike watching Jurassic Park for the 20th time. Sure, those dinosaurs will always be cool, no matter how well-worn and familiar, but at this point, the befanged thrills have dulled to knowing smiles. And yes, Joe Walsh would be T. rex in this analogy.
But hey, there's something to be said for comfort in these turbulent times, and thus a sold-out, if mellow, crowd of 16,113 packed the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Wednesday to hear Don Henley, Glenn Frey and the '70s-stuck SoCal crew work through a three-hours-plus (!) show of songs you know like the back of your wrinkling hand. Do I detect the warm smell of colitas? Or is that Bengay?...
Welcome to Pasco County, “the nudist capital of the world!” At least it is according to perky real estate agent Jackie Youngblood on TLC’s new reality show Buying Naked, which airs two half-hour episodes at 10 p.m. tonight. The show, which seemingly combines house-hunting and drawer-dropping (I dunno, honey, this house feels a bit drafty...), hasn’t yet been given a full series order. The first of tonight’s episodes focuses on newlyweds Mike and Hillary, who Jackie says are recent nudists, searching for a home in Pasco County. Though as you can see from the photo above, they’ve already mastered the art of puckishly hiding their naughty bits behind whimsical objects. (No, that’s okay, Mike, I don’t need any wine.) Check out a clip from the show below, though FAIR WARNING: There are lots of bare buns, as well as an unfortunate leaf-blower gag....
Taylor Swift weeping out I Want to Hold Your Hand? Adele cooing Till There Was You? Justin Timberlake putting a lil' funk into I Saw Her Standing There? Could happen. On Feb. 9, 2014, exactly 50 years to the day, date and time those Brit boys in the Beatles invaded The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, CBS and the Recording Academy will air The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles, two hours of today's popsters covering, well, the Greatest Popsters of All Time.
A specific guest list isn't set yet, but the show will tape Jan. 27, a day after the 56th annual Grammy Awards themselves (also on CBS), so all the biggest bold-faced stars will presumably be available for some cool cover songs. Along with other cuts from John, Paul, George and Ringo's peerless songbook, guests will pay homage to the specific hits the Beatles performed that night for Ed Sullivan and all those screaming, sobbing teens. Hmm, Bruno Mars doing All My Loving? Fellow Brits One Direction appropriately belting out She Loves You?...