a touching tribute from blink 182.

I attended the blink 182 concert last night at the Comcast Theatre. Overall, the show was great, but blink’s set took a somber turn about 4 songs in, when Mark Hoppus stopped to acknowledge the death of the band’s friend, Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein. Hoppus openly cried as he spoke to the crowd, and asked the crowd to have a moment of silence in Goldstein’s honor. The YouTube video above does show that some people misunderstood “silence” to mean “shout obnoxiously as loud as you can,” but 95% of the crowd kept their mouths shut and paid their respects. It was eerie to hear all of the people in the sold-out pavilion and the jam-packed lawn seating fall silent, some holding up lighters or cell phones to mark the moment.

The monitors on stage showed Hoppus and Tom DeLonge crying throughout the next song, and Travis Barker was openly distraught, putting his head in his hands before the song was over. It took a while for the dark mood that settled over the show to go away, but DeLonge acknowledged that music is what helps them cope with the terrible stuff that happens in life, and tonight was a testament to that fact.

For more on blink’s tribute, check out People‘s article here.

YouTube video courtesy of user madheadsTV.

you’re a ‘hot mess’ and i’m falling for you.

It’s taken them three albums, but Cobra Starship has finally found stable middle ground. New album “Hot Mess” takes the smooth synth-pop sound from their debut album “While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets,” and mixes it with the over-the-top outrageousness of second album “Viva La Cobra.” Add a dash of big-named guests (Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, Kara DioGuardi, and Kevin Rudolf), sprinkle liberally with lyrics about partying and hooking up, and you’ve got the most consistent album that Cobra Starship has released in their four year career.

Many people who were fans of frontman Gabe Saporta’s former band, Midtown, often beg him to ditch his purple hoodies and go back to his roots, but he seems to be most comfortable in Cobra Starship, where he can take musical risks that would be career suicide for anyone else. Sampling Hall and Oates? No problem. Titling a song “Pete Wentz Is the Only Reason We’re Famous”? Of course.

One big difference between “Hot Mess” and Cobra Starship’s other albums is that this one follows the band’s first true radio success, with “Good Girls Go Bad” reaching number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. None of Cobra Starship’s other singles have ever been featured this heavily on the radio, so it will be interesting to see if radio play translates to higher album sales.

Album opener “Nice Guys Finish Last” explodes out of your speakers and grabs you by the shirt, sampling both Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part II” and Adam Ant’s “Goody Two Shoes.” The title track has a catchy chorus and could easily get heavy radio rotation, if “Good Girls Go Bad” is any indication. “Fold Your Hands Child” and “Living in the Sky With Diamonds” provide a welcome respite from the album’s constant high. Cobra Starship even acknowledges the fact that most of the music scene doesn’t take them seriously with “You’re Not in On the Joke, singing “If you see them laughing/don’t follow them/’cause they’re not in on the joke.” It may seem exclusionary, but it’s true; diehard Cobra Starship fans get what the band is about, and that’s part of their massive appeal. Those who find the band annoying need not apply.

It’s sad, though, that Cobra Starship doesn’t get the respect they deserve and are written off as neon-loving hipsters with limited talent. Peruse and Cobra-related message board on punknews.org or absolutepunk.com and you’ll find comments like this gem: “What’s the joke to be in on? Getting a bunch of kids to listen to shitty dance music in the guise of a rock band?” Cobra Starship may not be the most serious of bands, but the music is fun, and that’s really all that matters.

Underneath their quirky, Day-Glo exterior, Cobra Starship is smart and it’s obvious that each musical step they take, including the ones taken on “Hot Mess,  is carefully calculated.

(photo courtesy of MTV.com)

‘so you think you can dance’: judging the final four

  It’s hard to believe that we’re already down to the final four in SYTYCD, with the finale less than a week away. Here are my thoughts on the remaining dancers:

Evan: The one positive thing I can say about Evan’s inclusion in the finale is that he adds some diversity, with the other 3 dancers all being contemporary. Looking back at Evan’s performances throughout the season, I’m pretty underwhelmed. He didn’t even perform well in the two Broadway numbers he was given, which is weird considering it’s his own style. The only time Evan stands out is when he does his solos, and this shows nothing but his inability to adapt to other dance styles, this being the entire point of SYTYCD. He obviously has a rabid fan base, given he is the only dancer going into the finale who has not been in the bottom two.

Brandon: Looking back at Brandon’s performances so far, I’m still left scratching my head as to why he’s been in the bottom two. Brandon ranks among the top 10 male dancers to ever dance on this show, but I don’t think that guarantees him the win. Thinking back to past seasons, technically flawless male dancers have made it far but never won (see: Travis, Danny and Will for examples). There’s a good chance he’ll be in the top 2, but I’d be very surprised if Brandon wins.

Kayla: Obviously the judges’ darling, Kayla has given strong performances all season. However, she has also made three appearances in the bottom 2, indicating that America hasn’t really embraced Kayla. There’s no question that she’s a talented dancer, but I think she’ll be eliminated first or second in the finale, much like season 3 judges darling Lacey.

Jeanine:This girl is the winner. Is she the best dancer out of the four remaining? That’s questionable, but her growth throughout the season has been wonderful to watch, and she’s just so genuinely likable. I remember Jeanine admitting in her interview during the top 20 performance show that she doesn’t have amazing legs or perfect turnout, but that she does have passion for what she’s doing. That’s always stuck with me as I’ve watched her dance throughout the season. Towards the beginning, I thought she was riding along on Philip’s popularity, but when she saved their horrendous top 18 tango and was the best part about their top 12 jive, I knew I was very wrong about Jeanine. Once she lost Philip as a partner and got to dance with guys who equalled her talent, Jeanine quickly became my pick to win. (I think it was the Travis Wall-choreographed piece that she danced with Jason that did it for me.)

Just to recap, I’d like to see Brandon and Jeanine as the final two, with Jeanine taking the title of America’s Favorite Dancer. (Until December, when season six crowns a new favorite.)