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50 posts categorized "MUSIC REVIEW"

Sep 13 2017
Do I Know You From Somewhere? — An Evening With Patrick Leonard, Madonna Maestro Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 11.10.07 AMTuesday night was the long-awaited An Evening with Patrick Leonard show at Joe's Pub in NYC, featuring prolific songsmith Patrick Leonard, the man behind some of Madonna's biggest hits and most soul-baring compositions.

He's 61 and a musical genius, but this marked his solo debut!

It was a nightmare for me professionally (to the extent that being a blogger is any kind of profession) due to a series of unfortunate photographic events not worth reliving, but I did get some stuff and the show itself was bliss, a total gift to fans of Leonard's immaculate work with Madonna. As generous as his 13-song set list was, he definitely left us wanting more.

Keep reading for my review, pics and mega-fan Luigi Saturnino's you-were-there videos ...

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Aug 07 2017
6-PACK — Reclaiming HIS Time + A's Player's Sorry, Gets Penalized + Chering Is Caring + Male INSTINCT + Progressives Cannibalizing Ourselves (Again) + Disney's Animated Lesbian Moms! Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 10.18.38 PMWhen Sec. of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, a huge slimeball, was testifying before Congress and attempting to evade Rep. Maxine Waters's (D-California) questions, she invoked a House rule by repeatedly stating she was reclaiming her time.

That went viral in 10 seconds flat.

Now, check out the drag reboot of Maxine's moment. Keep reading for that and more hot links of the day ...

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Aug 02 2017
Blondie Meet & Greet Report: Runnin' Circles 'Round A Night That Never Ends Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 11.51.05 AMI had a very unusual experience at the Blondie gig last night, which was the latest stop on their Rage and Rapture Tour 2017 with Garbage.

See, lots of good stuff happened, but lots of bad stuff happened — and yet, I think it could be that the resolution was so appropriate, it wound up being a positive experience overall.

Plus, it's always nice meeting Debbie Harry! Keep reading for a full review ...

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Aug 01 2017
Hummer Camp: A Review Of CAMP WANATACHI Comments (0)

8205ad3d6e7b1a3ec746320f6cd33853_f4804Last night, I caught Camp Wanatachi: In Concert, an official selection of the 2017 New York Music Festical (NYMF) — and I'm so blessed that I did!

Keep reading for my take on this weird and wonderful story of girls discovering who they are at Christian camp ...

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Apr 26 2017
Don't Miss Ross! — A Review Of Diana Ross @ NY City Center Comments (0)

DSC03180_new(All images by Matthew Rettenmund)

My friend Jason suggested we catch Diana Ross at New York City Center last night, and I'm glad we took the plunge. Having never seen her, she was on my bucket list, and didn't disappoint.

The space was crazy-small, so even from second-to-last row, I got good shots and videos of the diva, who has not only not changed, but seems to have become even more Diana Ross as the years have gone by.

DSC02503_new

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DSC02603_newThe first look — we didn't want her to Stop!

She wafted out like a vision, with her signature big hair and glitzy, sequined gown, welcoming herself with her Top 5 smash from 1980 “I'm Coming Out.” Like her presentation, it was an unapologetically literal choice, and had the crowd stomping.

She effortlessly cooed her way through a Motown segment featuring “More Today Than Yesterday” and “My World Is Empty Without You” (many of her song choices and stage gestures seemed tailor-made to communicate with fans), “Baby Love,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “Come See About Me,” “You Can't Hurry Love” and “Love Child.”

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DSC02868_newRed-hot!

After the first gown swap (she favored us with five looks in all), she moved into the '70s with “The Boss” DSC03009_new and “Touch Me in the Morning,” taking a Red Hot Rhythm & Blues detour with “It's Hard for Me to Say,” her only shaky performance all evening (she seemed a little lost, then joked that she would just read the words, presumably from a prompter). 

She then brought down the house with an ecstatic “Upside Down,” for which she welcomed two of her grandkids, one daughter and a step-daughter onstage.

The '70s were back with “It's My House” and an ultra-slinky “Love Hangover,” which segued into her '90s hit “Take Me Higher,” itself a '70s throwback. Ross would occasionally give us a little vamping while singing, always with a mega-watt smile that made fun of herself, as if to discount her sexiness at 73, but she can definitely still pull it off.

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Feb 08 2017
You're Just Jealous 'Cause You Can't Be Me: Michael Griffiths Shows He CAN Be Madonna Comments (0)

DSC01552You were expecting Lady Gaga? (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Tuesday night, I took my Encyclopedia Madonnica 20 designer Anthony with me to 54 Below Unnamed for an evening of expensive scallops, microscopic dessert and a waiter who was serving ass for days, so we could take in the one-night-only show by crooner and pianist Michael Griffiths, In Vogue: Songs by Madonna.

If you've never seen or heard Griffiths, he's a nattily dressed cabaret performer who brings to life the oeuvre (said with all of Madonna's pretension) of the Queen of Pop, giving her songs the Cole Porter treatment while sardonically narrating her life and career.

The part of his show that takes some getting used to is that Griffiths addresses the audience as Madonna, but doesn't attempt to mimic her voice. For die-hard fans, his needling of Madonna's grandiosity and, at times, even her songwriting skills, can be alarming, but as the show unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that he's the type of person to keep his friends close and his icons closer.

DSC01540A Truth or Dare black-and-white moment (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

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Griffiths has a beautiful, clear voice that he uses aggressively, squeezing out phrases brusquely and with precision. At times, his renditions were so fabulously inventive and fun to hear (“Die Another Day,” for example), it was frustrating that he would cut things short in order to be funny ... but funny he was.

Some of the songs that received relatively full renditions include her obvious best work, like “Vogue” and “Like a Prayer,” but one highlight of his curation was his selection of “Cry Baby” from I'm Breathless: Songs from and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy, a gem of a tune that he rewrote in order to skewer Madonna's failed marriage to Guy Ritchie.

For me, the most interesting part of the show was a brilliantly compiled mash-up arranged to capture Madonna's movie career (aw, he referred to Evita as a Musical and/or Comedy), using snippets of her movie songs to sketch her (now long gone) desperation to be accepted as an actress. It was probably his most intelligent use of his spoken-word vs. sung-song approach, and was a harbinger of the poignancy he achieved by show's end.

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 12.23.12 AMTwo faces of Griffiths — serious 'n' silly (Images by Matthew Rettenmund)

Griffiths is currently on a mini-tour, singing the songs of Cole Porter (presumably sans bitchy asides about Cole's contempt for Lady Gaga). Catch him if you can regardless of what he's warbling, but if you get a chance to witness him being like a Ciccone, live out your fantasies of Madonna as torch singer there with him.

DSC01569My flash almost died waiting for this! (Image by Anthony Coombs)

Keep reading for his full set list:

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Jan 09 2017
Absolutely No Regrets: A Review Of PIAF!: THE SHOW Comments (0)

15826462_10154649452396001_8707316754049986677_nImages of Piaf were projected onto the walls of the performance hall as Carrere sang. (Image by Matthew Rettenmund; other images by G. Marsalla)

I spent Friday evening listening to Edith Piaf sing at Carnegie Hall in the '50s. 

Actually, the event was Piaf! The Show, we were in the Fifties in NYC and the singer was Anne Carrere, but close Please-credit-photo-by-g-marsalla_27637841531_oenough — Carrere hauntingly summons Piaf's vocal stylings so beautifully it has been said she possesses the legend's instrument at her peak. In a warm, witty rendering of all the songs Piaf made famous, Carrere's challenge was to inhabit Piaf's unique style while giving us flashes of her own personality.

She succeeded.

Act I consisted of early Piaf, 16 French numbers performed with gusto by Carrere and her tight band. Carrere looked the part enough to create an illusion but not enough to appear to be a caricature. The crowd was eating from the palm of her hand, so delighted were they to be hearing songs in what was likely the native language of more than a few.

After an intermission, Carrere & Co. returned for 12 more tunes, these more modern and among Piaf's signature hits. With each number the crowd grew more enthusiastic, awaiting the inevitable arrival of “La Vie en Rose” and “Non, Je ne Regrette Rien.” Carrere performed cheekily, leaving the stage to flirt with audience members, some of whom were all to eager to flirt back. (When she approached a woman, the attendee stood and shook her breasts, which earned her a skip.)

The only less than perfect part of the evening was when a creepy guy overeagerly volunteered to dance with Carrere onstage. Even seated, his body movements were disturbingly suggestive, threatening to kill the buzz of an incredibly emotional and faultlessly classy evening for Carrere, who was debuting at Carnegie Hall 60 years after Piaf's famed gig there. Her own respect for Piaf and her charm as a newcomer to the world stage won out.

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Wayward audience members aside, the evening was magical, driven by Carrere's indefatigable growl and her sweetness in admitting to us how much it meant for her to be able to bring us those songs in that place in that context.

For us, too, and for any big fan of Piaf; this is a show that can't be missed. Let it pass you by and you will regret it.

Piaf!: The Show has about 400 upcoming shows scheduled through 2019 in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Info here.

Set list after the jump ...

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Dec 17 2016
6-PACK — Bye, Fella-licia + Obama Blames Putin, Imagines Reagan Spinning + NEWSWEEK Scribe Given Seizure By Deplorable + BMXXXer + His Justin Vivian Bond Is His Word + Hand-Jive Talkin'! Comments (0)

WIDGETSean Mandell is leaving Towleroad — sob!

WIDGETObama's last 2016 presser: Press to blame for taking Putin's leak bait, but yeah, it was Putin. I prefer Mamie's take:

WIDGETNewsweek's Kurt Eichenwald has Trump's number, so people are tweeting him strobe images to trigger his epilepsy.

Screen Shot 2016-12-16 at 11.27.26 PM(Image via Instagram @willgrant)

WIDGETWill Grant, BMXer-cum-model, goes nude. (Work Unfriendly)

WIDGETHe's with v: Review of Justin Vivian Bond's new Christmas cabaret act.

Screen Shot 2016-12-16 at 11.31.22 PM(Video still via John-David Lyons)

WIDGETThank God for the (Really) Gay Men's Chorus of San Diego. Watch how they were born to hand-jive AFTER THE JUMP ...

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