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Betty B. Goode Crowned Champion at 2008 Cuervo Black US Air Guitar Championships, Presented by TouchTunes: Brooklyn Regionals

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



It was late Wednesday night, I was sober, and was watching 20 or so drunken fools perform an all-star rock jam of "Freebird." Even if they were holding actual guitars, this would have been pretty ridiculous, but they were instead jamming along like a group of Bill and Ted's, playing only air. Surely, I could be doing something useful with my time, but this was pretty fun.

Missing from the stage was the true star of the night, Betty B. Goode, who—like any true rock god or goddess—left Music Hall of Williamsburg on a route straight to the emergency room. After blowing away the judges with the high score in round 1, the air guitar vixen stunned us all when she ran off stage in the final performance of round 2, climbing onto the balcony, and eventually finishing her 60 seconds of "Rock You Like a Hurricane" with a bone sticking out of her foot.

Who knew air guitar could be so dangerous?

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Air Guitar Heroes

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts

Q. What’s greater than witnessing a legendary guitar player shred through a blistering solo? A. Witnessing an air guitar virtuoso pretend to shred through that same blistering solo. While an entire night of air guitar sounds totally ridiculous, there’s a reason why these events have grown so much in popularity in recent years, even inspiring [&hellip
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The Sonic Youth Fourth of July Fireworks

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



27 years after their formation, is there any question that Sonic Youth is the greatest rock band ever to emerge out of New York?

Their influence, longevity, extensive catalog, live performances and overall impact on the NY scene are beyond that of any band ever to come out of New York. This is no disrespect to The Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Television, Blondie, Talking Heads and many other legendary bands that established NYC as the greatest music scene in the world.

Any doubters had to be left speechless by Friday afternoon's performance at Battery Park (part of River to River's annual concert series). No fireworks display that followed was anywhere near as explosive as what was being created on that stage by Thurston, Gordon, Ranaldo, Ibold and Shelley. For a band whose sound thrives indoors, they had no problem building walls of earth-shattering guitars. Any exterior walls of atmosphere surrounding earth were blown right off.

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Thank You, Scotland, For Bringing Us Frightened Rabbit

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



Some albums are life defining. They carry such emotional weight that, without them you'd feel lost. We all have different albums that fit into this category, all with varying reasons behind this powerful status. Many indie rock fans couldn't live without Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" or Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.'

This year, Frightened Rabbit's "The Midnight Organ Fight" came out of nowhere (Scotland) and has been impacting the lives of a lot of indie rock fans, thanks to Scott Hutchinson's earnest, and very relatable lyrics.

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Albert Hammond Jr. and His Amazing Black Leather Jacket

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



In 1979, not long after the cremation of John Simon Richie—better known as Sid Vicious—a suicide note was found. The note read: " We had a death pact. I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye."

Even in death, the punk rock fashion-plate wanted to look cool.

But he wasn't the only one that made wearing the leather jacket cool. From James Dean to Arthur Fonzarelli, the leather jacket has become a fashion choice that often defines cool. Rock stars are probably the biggest supporters of the leather jacket industry outside of bikers.

Albert Hammond Jr. was sporting a black leather jacket when he opened up his special invite-only performance at Mercury Lounge on Tuesday night. Standing on the side benches of the small club, Hammond Jr. was struck with a series of camera flashes so persistent that they acted as strobes, as he played an acoustic rendition of "101." As distracting as those flashes should have been, he seemed unfazed, and it was a pretty magical moment.

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Warlocks and Black Angels Transform Southpaw Into A Valley of Death

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts


Just as I was heading out to Park Slope, the sky turned its deepest shade of black and opened up with a terrible burst of rain, soaking me head to toe, despite the protection of an umbrella. After a good 45 minutes traveling underground, I emerged into the light of day once again. The rain had stopped and the sky had cleared.

After a scrumptious dinner with a friend at old-school Italian joint, Aunt Susie's, we headed over to Southpaw, where all the sunshine and happiness was mercilessly sucked away. The storm clouds, returning in the forms of The Warlocks and The Black Angels rained heavily upon us with a gloomy hypnotic drone.

As if creating the soundtrack for a dungeon overflowing in drug-induced death and decay, The Warlocks sludged through a spellbinding set, looking nearly comatose on stage. Unable to deal with even a little bit of light, frontman Bobby Hecksher continuously asked for the club to dim the lights more and more until the stage was practically black. Though they looked as though they were propped up, and disoriented by an overload of narcotics, they were still able to make it through an entire set. Focusing primarily on the highly underrated 2007 release "Heavy Deavy Skull Lover" and 2005's "Surgery," the Los Angeles 6-peice often sounded as though they were riding the same hypnotic 2 chord riff over and over with a little bit of variation. Maybe it was the contact high we were getting from just being in the same room as The Warlocks, but they were pretty great.

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DEVOted Spuds

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



There is probably nothing geekier than a group of middle-aged men performing absurd new wave music, while wearing yellow jumpsuits and red flower pots/"energy domes" on their heads. And that is why idea of Devo still works now without feeling tragic. Devo was always for the weirdest of us all. If there ever was a band created for those who didn't really fit in to any niche, it was them.

While most people see the band as nothing more than a one hit wonder with a hilarious video ("Whip It'), Devo is actually one of the most original and influential bands in modern American music. Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, and Bob and Gerald Casale helped pioneer both arty new wave and the music video. Their sound seemed to stem from the electronic krautrock of Kraftwerk as well as the experimental absurd sounds of The Residents, but their product was something totally their own.

When they began performing, they were way ahead of their time in both their music and performance. Last night, performing in front of a crowd of devoted fans/"spuds" at Brooklyn's McCarren Pool, they still sounded ahead of their time....

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Never Enough: The Cure @ Radio City

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



Playing for near three hours, including three encores, The Cure gave their biggest fans everything they could ever ask for. The magnificent interior and sound of Radio City Music Hall gave it all a glorious feeling, as the longtime kings of gloom played a masterful set in front of thousands dressed in their blackest attire.

30 years have done nothing to take the pain, hurt, and desperation out of Robert Smith's wail. The legendary frontman sounded as good as ever, while the rest of the band built a powerful wall of sound behind him.

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Partying at McCarren Pool with Gogol Bordello

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



It was an epic battle, with neither side wearing down. Gogol Bordello, possibly the craziest, most energetic band alive was giving their fans at McCarren Pool everything they had with a near 2 hour set of rambunctious gypsy punk rock. The fans soaked it all up, dancing through the entire set, without showing any signs of letting up. It seemed like both sides could last all night, and if not for the need to shut down at 10pm due to neighborhood noise laws, I'm pretty sure they would have gone all night.

Even when Gogol Bordello finally ended the set, frontman Eugene Hütz announced that the party at McCarren Pool may be over, but there'd be plenty more partying to follow at Bulgarian Bar in the L.E.S..

For Gogol Bordello to be playing McCarren Pool made perfect sense. Despite the continuing gentrification, Greenpoint still has the highest percentage of Eastern Europeans in NYC, and 3 of the core members of this NYC-based band hail from Ukraine and Russia.

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The Good Times Are Killing Me

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



It was 4:30am as I walked across Williamsburg’s empty streets, and I felt like I had accomplished something. Seven hours earlier I had come down from the caffeine high that propelled me throughout the earlier part of the day. I was crashing hard, and knew I had a long path ahead of me. It was one of those nights when there were just too many not-to-miss shows, and I had attempted to try and catch as many as possible. I planned to start off at Pete’s Candy Store, then head to Studio B in Greenpoint to finally end up for the “secret” Modest Mouse show that was scheduled for 1:30 in the morning at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

“You’re gonna need coke or something,” someone recommended at the office. Instead, I downed another iced coffee and got ready.

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