Four Must-See Shows This Weekend (And One Psychedelic Movie)
The actual Beatles don't actually show up in the 1968 animated flick Yellow Submarine (not until the end at least, and that's not John, Paul, George, and Ringo providing voices), but don't let that dissuade you from taking in a special noontime showing of the new digital print of the movie at AMC Desert Ridge this Saturday. Not only does the movie exclusively feature one of The Beatles' grooviest rockers, "Hey Bulldog," but it's a visual swirl as a technicolor Fab Four take on the music-detesting Blue Meanies.
Some Beatles conspiracy theorists allege the movie is a twisted allusion to the Biblical book of Revelation, while plenty of parents are wary of taking their kids to what is obviously more of an acid trip than anything Sid and Marty Krofft dreamed up (but not by much). You (or your kids) don't need to be high to enjoy Yellow Submarine, but we're not judging if you are. --Jason P. Woodbury
German metal band Rammstein is just as much about visuals as it is about punishing balls-to-the-wall metal, rhythmic tumult, and synthetic keyboards. The band's albums are intense, but nothing comes close to their staggeringly powerful live performances, spectacles on par with a Hollywood action flick. Although Rammstein has a worldwide fan base, they are most known in the United States for the song "Du Hast," which many mistakenly think translates to "I Hate." Nope -- the song is actually a play on German marriage vows, translating to "I have."
The band's Germanic wordplay, which often incorporates literature, military history, and jokes on the fringe of bad taste, might wind up a little lost on English-speaking crowds, but the violent action of the show, all machete microphones, blood-spattered musicians, elaborate stage setup (reportedly carted around by more than 30 trucks), wacky costumes (stemming from founder/guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe's fondness for Kiss), and lots of pyrotechnics will certainly translate. We're talking rumors of flame-shooting masks and fireworks fired from human bodies. The band is keeping quiet about what songs from their six studio albums made the set list, and it's hard to say whether lyricist/vocalist Till Lindemann, also a licensed pyrotechnician, will address the crowd in English, anyway. But Rammstein is certainly one band that proves that metal is an international tongue -- regardless what language it's in. -- Lauren Wise
In 2008, NBC tried to reboot the legendary '80s program Knight Rider, casting Justin Bruening as the son of David Hasselhoff's Michael Knight, and casting Val Kilmer as the voice of KITT, a hyper-intelligent car.
Ty Patterson -- the Phoenix-based MC who raps as Trap -- was not onboard with the show. "With the Mustang?" he asks incredulously. "Nah, I couldn't get into that."
Trap's latest mixtape, I Am Michael Knight, aims for a more authentic feel, incorporating '80s vibes, the original Knight Rider theme, and some choice samples of dialogue from William Daniels (the original voice of KITT). Featuring production by DJ John Blaze, the mix is wide open: "Billz," featuring Willy Northpole, mines catchy club-rap styles, and "In That Trap" boasts blissful Auto-Tuned vocals and gauzy synths, while tracks like "Landlord" and "Reagonomics" practically snap under the weight of Trap's ferocious vocals.
"My motivation comes from getting excited about a concept for a project, as opposed to just doing the music," Trap says of the album's Hoff-heavy theme. "So with the whole I Am Michael Knight scenario, it pushed me in a direction to make it more of a street album than a mixtape. All of my projects have been 100 percent original, but for this one, I wanted it to be as if it were a commercial release, so I made the production as big as possible. The songs, the concepts -- it's all on a big scale." Read more about MC Trap. --Jason Woodbury
It's nearly impossible not to yawn at the mere mention of the term "singer-songwriter." You've heard it before -- some Lisa Loeb or Elliott Smith clone crooning about a botched relationship over the sounds of a barista cranking out another chai latte. Singer-songwriter Ari Herstand has worked hard to distance himself from the "acoustic dude" crowd and his coffee house past. In concert, he incorporates a variety of sounds into his set, using a loop pedal to layer his songs with beatboxing, keyboard, trumpet, and vocal embellishments. "If you listen closely, you can hear some of my earlier ska influences and New Orleans-style brass band influences," Herstand says.
"I still maintain those roots." Herstand's unique approach to solo performance came after witnessing a blues artist utilize a loop pedal. "I was at an open mic and I saw someone looping [a 12-bar blues riff]," he says. "[He] just kinda laid down the guitar foundation and soloed on top of it." Inspired, Herstand bought a loop station and locked himself in his room to figure the device out. "[I performed] a show shortly after. I looped just one song at that show. I remember seeing the audience's jaws collectively drop. I'm, like, all right, I think I'm on to something here." -- Melissa Fossum
Pigeon John is one interesting bird. Born into a bi-racial household, the future underground rapper (born John Kenneth Duncan) spent parts of his childhood in both the whitest (Omaha, Nebraska) and blackest (Inglewood, California) cities in America. As a Southern California teen skate-rat, he teethed musically on a balanced diet of De La Soul, Beastie Boys, Phil Collins, and Madonna, ultimately partnering with childhood friend B-Twice to form the seminal Christian hip-hop duo Brainwash Projects. Later, National Public Radio did a profile on him. When the Diane Rehms and Robert Siegels of the world come calling, you know you've stumbled on some serious hip-hop crossover appeal. -- Craig Outhier
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