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Friday, February 24, 2012

Concert Review: DMX @ SOB's 2/23/12

There's a venue in New York City located at 204 Varick Street called S.O.B.'s that will probably not show up in any more Jay Porks Experiences... We're here for DMX's Return To New York City Presented by Ghetto Metal ( Twitter: @ghettometal) tonight. The SOLD OUT S.O.B.'s I should say, as the tickets for this 400 person capacity venue are gone. I remember in High School circa 2000 when I was introduced to DMX in a music class-not by the teacher but by an obnoxious kid sitting back rock with headphones on reciting the lyrics live from I.S. 75. I mean, if you're going to be screaming lyrics out in class, I think those were the most explicit one's you could have picked at the time.. The delinquent was booted from class, and I found myself adding another artist to that “Handful of Hip Hop Artists I would go See live” list. So the 65th installment of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series brings back memories of Slaughterhouse last year , at SOB's, (which at the time I considered) an awesome venue. Just a big room: Bar in the back, a stage that's literally three steps up from the ground, dinner seating to the left of the stage, and the back stage area being downstairs-which leads the artists to no choice but to come through the crowd to enter. Awesome. I mean, the only way this night can go bad, is if there's like 40 unnamed openers that perform til midnight. Whatever “Ghetto Metal” means, I'm pretty sure that whatever happens tonight, my buddy Chach (@oneshotchach) gets the blame for dragging me to this one. Doors at 7:30, show is at 9PM.

We get in, go up against the stage next to the the stairs leading up to it. Cool. Good spot. TONS of press here, I mean everywhere I looked someone's got one of those thousand dollar cameras. I mean the whole shebang-the flash extension thing-a-ma-bobs attached to Nikon's and Canon's surrounding this room. For a place with no special press area, I was puzzled. Then Chach informed me of DMX's interview on Power 105.1 earlier this morning (video above) which I just watched and now totally understand the hype now.

So here's something unexpected: instruments on stage. Drums and amps set up for, like, a band. Maybe this is the “Ghetto Metal” they're talking about. And another shocker, show is said to start at 9PM, and a band hit the stage at 8:04. Cool, let's get this started early, is this 'Bazaar Royal'? They're the only opener listed. No it isn't at all. It's a band called “Murder League All Stars”. Make fun of the name all you want, but 30 seconds into their first song they were already better then Limp Bizkit-True Story. They had a bassist, guitarist and drummer rocking out while a two man lyrical attack that had the funky rhymes a la Beastie Boys combined with a splash of band like the Deftones. Both guys were rapping, but they were also screaming at heavy volume at times too. Me, Chach, and the photographer chick representing The Source magazine were really digging them...

The next band up, still pre-9pm, was, and forgive me for the botching of the name I was really being pushed out of my spot during this time towards like, behind the DJ rig where I was going to have zero video chances. I think it was “A the Future Featuring A.D.D.”. Back up singers on stage, another guitar player and drummer, along with a violinist, and a female up front singer who's hot. Then the lead singer/rapper dude comes out in a 'Misfits' jacket. They were groovy too, but what the hell is happening here? I'm in the right place right-this is the DMX show? At Hip Hop shows I always feel like I'm out of my field of connoisseurship, but this felt like the norm to me. They played a few quick ones because noted that they were off at 9..

Right during this break they're setting up another bands gear on stage and we're wondering if this is like, maybe the back up band for DMX or something, because obviously Bazaar Royal must not be playing, we've already seen two bands. It's at this point I'm beyond the point were I can see the stage, as people who have no concert manners like to shove themselves to the front with little regard to the people who stood outside over an hour and have been standing in this spot for an hour and a half already after coming here straight from a 11-4 waiter shift... People almost got punched tonight, but this when I told Chach I'm gonna stray towards the back for DMX scout a better spot while he snaps shots on his iPhone.

So we wait, and we wait and then at 10 o'clock Bazaar Royal comes on. And if this dude doesn't even deserve my words but I'll have them none the less. First let me say that everybody in the band backing Bazaar Royal was tight as freaking hell. They did some cool stuff, a six stringed bassist. Open letter to those musicians: Get away from that guy. Every time you started to nod your head with the band this dude's obscure voice ruined every song. Not Eddie Vedder ruined, but I really don't get what he's trying to do, and I don't think he does either. Before the last song, chants of D-M-X started, and his repsonse was “Hey! Show some fucking respect! Because I'll keep you waiting. If you don't like my music you can find me downstairs or outside..” That's not exact but it's the jist. Is he implying that I should fight him if I don't like his music? First of all, you have no talent. Second off, you have ZERO taste in music and I can tell. The DMX chants started right after him and his band did a cover of Kings of Leon “Use Somebody”. And I'm not talking “hip hop sampled and made a new song out of it” cover-the band played it straight. I should've gotten that on video, it would've been viral for sure- but I was too busy screaming at the top of my lungs: “Holy F#&king God ARE YOU SERIOUSLY PLAYING KINGS OF LEON RIGHT NOW!?!” repeated to everyone surrounding me. People I know(not by choice), who don't like Hip Hop even for a second have told me that the perception is that their fans have bad taste in music. Well, when these fans heard Kings Of Leon being covered, the whole building knew it was about time for this dude to bounce. So Bazaar Royale, or Royal or whatever the hell it is . Don't you EVER disrespect people at a concert for wanting to the headliner. You mentioned how you been with DMX since day one and all that stuff-yet I've never heard your name in life dude-and I listen to a lot of music. You have the nerve to step on a soap box (metaphorically) and annoy the hell out of the 400+ people the squeezed into this place. This schmuck didn't go off til 10:50.

That's when I high tailed it outside to smoke a cig, and I noticed that if the fire Marshall showed up he's shut this place down. I can't even get out the door. Finally did and a dude leaning against the door asked me if I needed any Heroin. What the hell goes on with life?? I got away from him quick and got back in to eventually find a spot on the same side of the room but in the back, I'm probably 20-30 heads back from Chach at this point, and any videos I want to take are blocked by tall people. My arm hurts.

For the last two paragraphs of stuff that annoyed me, this night was a serious win. I mean I was having a great time for those first two bands, and at 11:38 the night go that much better, when there he arose from the basement: DMX!

Kicked things off with “One More Road To Cross”.Now this is fun. The whole vibe of this place is shifted. We're all here looking at the stage and seeing DMX perform for the first time in New York in years. A lot of us first timers, he did nothing short of give SOB's everything he had. Pulled Swiss Beatz up for a few tracks including “Ruff Ryders anthem” and “Get it on the Floor”. Rumors had it that the Lox and Drag-On were downstairs set to appear, but that didn't matter. We're getting the DMX greatest hits set here. As much as my arm hurt from stretching it up for my camera, and as annoyed as I would normally be when people sway their hands in my way-when “Party Up” came on I was glad Chach dragged me to this. “Lord Gimmie A Sign” and “What They Really Want” were crowd pleasers.

Let's not underestimate the humor of DMX. I mean, he was smiling, cracking jokes, passing around a bottle of Hennesy to the crowd and telling everyone to “Sip and pass”. Also the way he talks, with the growl serving as periods on sentences Awesome. Another phrase that was scream out by DMX throughout the evening “Flesh of my FLESHHHHH” (before he would do a song off of the “Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of my Blood” record). And “It is NOTTT a F#%king GAME!!”. While the set was reaching it's end I heard people behind me talking. They were chatting between songs and the beat came on for the next one and the dude says to his friend “Wow DMX has SO MANY great songs!”. To quote Ed McMahon “You are correct sir”. The night ended in the darkness when X instructed the house lights be turned off and everyone hold up ligthers and cell phones, and that's when he ended the evening with “Slippin'” I clocked it at a 12:56AM ending.

Can't ask for anymore then that. See, when I went to see Joe Budden at Irving Plaza he rapped like one verse a song and they'd switch the beat up and stuff like we're listening to the radio or something. DMX came to SOB's and left it all on stage. He was certainly not just going through the motions. It was a great show.

I'll hopefully have some more video uploaded before the day's end, I got some queued up.. thanks for tuning in.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Review: The Darkness w/ Foxy Shazam 2/4/12 Irving Plaza

On the same evening that New York Jets Running Back Curtis Martin get's elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, can you believe that's only the second best thing that happened today? Well, The 64th installment of the Jay Pork Never Ending Concert Series may have had something to do with that. Tonight brings us to Irving Plaza in NYC for an epic evening with The Darkness! Along with Foxy Shazam (Which 'thenaturalstoner' praises for their latest stellar release), and I believe some other band they threw on the card that will be named in the next paragraph or so. This is great for so many reasons. First trip back to Irving Plaza since the Joe Budden debacle, and as I recall I noted to show up earlier this time and make it a must to get a better spot. Irving Plaza is also the venue me and my friend Pam scalped the fake Alice In Chains tickets and got beat on 100 bucks. Bad things have happened here. But, it's the freaking Darkness! A band that people don't know til you sing them the chorus from “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”, and even then they snort in derision. “You're going to see that band?”. Yea actually I am. I can recall actually having a professor of mine at the College of Staten Island last semester breakdown the Epicness of the Darkness to some classmate who claimed they were a “one hit wonder”. That teacher said he'll be in attendance tonight, and I will be looking for him(Brian Cogan author of many books available on Amazon, including the “Encyclopedia of Punk”). So there's that and hey, it's our first 2012 show-time to get back in the swing of things. I kicked it off huge last year with GWAR, and I expect The Darkness deliver as well (Well, except the “one of the guys in the band dying” part anyway). So let's get this show on the road shall we?

So after freezing outside on a line for about an hour, they decided to open the doors. I happened to be standing next to a couple outside who I got to chatting it up with. Totally cool people, it was all laughs and talking past show experiences. Love that shit. And it was either Connecticut or New Hampshire they were from I can't remember because I'm a terrible friend. But I know they were in a hotel and I know they were nice enough to warm me up with some of their Jagermeister while we waited for doors to open. Awesome. Finally some people who are friendly! I'm standing next to someone who says there is a second opener in addition to Foxy Shazam. I'm sure as hell hope not. Anyway I was able to snag a standing room spot upstairs, so video is happening tonight (we hope).

At 9 on the dot, a band fronted by a guy wearing rainbow zebra pants hit the stage. This band turned out to be Crown Jewel Defense- they've been on tour with Darkness overseas they say, and by the looks of their wardrobe I believe them. These guys look like before they formed this band they played as a Darkness cover band the way everyone's pants hugging testicles. I mean, these guys aren't that bad- they're tight as a band. This guy has painted lines under his eyes like a Native American chief or something. What the hell goes on with life? A whole 24 minutes of their set went by fairly quickly, before the last song there was chants of "No more songs!" from the Irving Plaza crowd. Wasn't me this time I swear.

Foxy Shazam came out at 9:40, and were totally freaking cool from the get go. Lead singer grabs the microphone and says: “I know Rock and Roll is dead but that doesn't mean we can't dance with it's fucking ghost!!”. Hell yes! THIS is a band I can get into. They kicked it off with a song called “The Only Way to My Heart”-you had me at “The”! The lead singer jumps on the lead guitarist's shoulders as he's playing his little solo part, humps the back of his head. They got what I thought was hydraulic keyboards going on over there, but that was just the dude enjoying lifting it and moving it into obscure angles, including upside down to end the set. He was standing (and stomping) on that keyboard for a while there. Their lead singer is something else. All over the place, crazy swinging the mic-stand around and catching it.. Little bit of Iggy in him,

you know, minus the blood and peanut butter. During the set he asked if anyone in the crowd has a cigarette, he was tossed one with a light and lit it up. He takes a few puffs, and EATS IT. The dude ate a lit cigarette on stage! That's what I call showmanship right there, that's a front man I want to see more of... I feel like I've said this before, but this band sounds exactly like it's name. Foxy Shazam.. just say it like this Foxy Sha-ZAM!!..Their set was over at 10:09. Then the wait for the Darkness had begun.

Hey, message to the dudes behind me-bump me again, and I'm going to turn around and punch somebody. The dance floor is downstairs if you wanna boogie, there was 5 of us that ran up here for a reason-to get away from you idiots.

So at like 10:50, the lights went off and a little intro music for a minute or so before they appeared before us: THE DARKNESS !

Rocking a stache like no other, decked out in an American Flag themed outfit looking like Johnny Depp meets Freddie Mercury. The place has filled out to the gills and going completely crazy.. these people are screaming so loud I could barely hear the notes at first. Started it with “Black Shuck” and went into “Growing on Me” from there. As someone who writes stuff on the interwebs, this point of the show I'm in heaven with a great spot and no event staffers in sight. I'm rolling, I'm gonna get this whole freaking thing! “The Best of Me”, “One Way Ticket to Hell and Back”, “Nothin's Gonna Stop Us”(The music video they release a few days ago), and “Get Your Hands Off My Women”-with the only one I wasn't recording was the new one.


To me, this set happens in portions. The above paragraph is me rocking out doing my Social Media Journalistic duties from the 2nd floor leaning over the railing, recording songs like the rest of the room-except I'm not using an iPhone. So this schmuck starts tapping me on the shoulder during “Can't Believe It's Not Love” and demands I put the camera away. Really dude? Again, I can't stress this enough, IF YOU DON'T WANT ME TO BRING A CAMERA, THEN PUT IT IN THE EVENT INFO! You can't just make up rules. Besides the fact of all the pot smoke and cigarettes being smoked downstairs. But no, me standing next the mom of one Foxy Shazam's photographers with a little tiny camera is a problem. Screw you guy, you almost ruined my night.


It was at that point I realized my kidney's were not up to the task of holding this urine in much longer, and since this great spot has gone to waste thanks to that event staff prick, might as well hit the head right about now. And I promise you this is how it went down, I can't make this up. I run downstairs as I hear that Justin Hawkins is strumming an acoustic, but now I'm on the run to the stall and as soon as I close that door and begin to relieve myself, I hear that the song they're playing is “Holding My Own”.. as I look down and, let's face it, I too am also holding my own. I ran back upstairs because I heard “Love Is Only a Feeling” about to get started and I got up there and couldn't see a freaking thing it's so packed out. I was so mad for that split second I swung my fist towards the wall and almost punched it, I pulled back before I hit it (damn people watching me must think I'm a nutcase). I walked downstairs and sat back to enjoy this great song, and this great night. Eff that guy-I got “Growing On Me” that's gonna have 100's of views by next week. Porks 1, Event Staff 0.

Some bands let you down with their live performance-that is not the case here tonight. I cannot believe this guy can hit those high notes like that in real life-too bad Queen isn't still looking for a front man to tour with-because THIS would be the guy. And keep now I've moved to the bar, and I'm watching the on stage happenings on a flat screen TV. I'm being blown away through a Television! This back end of the set they actually mixed in a few new songs too, that Justin said is on an album they're working on. Good news for us Darklings. “Friday Night”(I love that song) was followed by a new one called “Everybody Have a Good Time”. He said it was “Everybody Have a Mother Fucking Good Time”, but the chorus didn't have the expletive in it, so I'll assume it's not going in the title. “Givin' Up” was in there too at some point, my iPod was dead I couldn't take the songs down in order..Their were at least 2 more new ones in there that we weren't privileged to be given the names of before the night was over. They went off well after Midnight, with “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” being the last song before the encore, and it was already 12:10 by then.

What a night. Feels so good to get back in the swing of things for 2012-as much as I love discussing festival lineups and trying to plan trips to Beale St., it fells so freaking good typing every single word of this as the clock ticks past 5AM. Tons of other shows coming this year, as we try and top last years total of 23: We got DMX coming up, Kasabian at Terminal 5 in March, Local H coming back at the Mercury Lounge in April. Fun times, fun times indeed. But here's something not fun: I have a restaurant to open up in 4 hours-working til 9PM. And you know what, maybe someone get's Merlot instead of Cabernet later because I'm so shot from all this madness... but it was all so damn worth it. Thanks for sticking around for all this jibber jabbar-stay tuned.