John Brown’s Body @ Paradise Rock Club, 1/25/14

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Last week, my friend and I went to a John Brown’s Body concert at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston.

Image courtesy of capitalalehouse.com

John Brown’s Body is a reggae dub band, consisting of eight men and a variety of instruments. In addition to the typical instruments in a band (the guitar, bass, drums), John Brown’s Body has a brass section. This helps the live performance have a very full sound that is a feast for the ears.

I would say that the only complaint I had about this concert was its considerable length: it started just before 9pm, and it ended at 1am. Strange Machines and Pimps of Joytime opened for John Brown’s Body, and they were fantastic; but I would say that the height of energy in the evening was during the second opener and in the beginning of John Brown’s Body’s set. By the time John Brown’s Body came back for an encore, the crowd was visibly tired. The performances were so excellent though, that I did not mind.

This was my second time seeing John Brown’s Body, and I would certainly go see them again. I also definitely want to keep an ear out for Pimps of Joytime; their energy was practically palpable. It was an evening of never-ending, chill, and at the same time, joyous, music.

Additionally, the Paradise Rock Club is one of my all time favorite venues. I know the best place in the house to stand. Let’s just say that my spot for this concert was so good, that the official concert photographer asked me if I could move over for a moment so he could snap some pictures of the band.

If you are interested, take a listen to John Brown’s Body, and if they come to a town near you, make an effort to go out and see them!

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Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP

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Free my mind, ARTPOP

You make my heart stop

Lady Gaga’s most recent contribution to pop music is ARTPOP, a highly synthesized, speaker-busting narrative commentary on today’s culture. On the surface, this album seems like a flashy dance album, but as we listen to the lyrics, we begin to understand how her songs take us on a carefully crafted emotional journey.

The album is rife with references to the things that are seemingly the most important in today’s upper class culture: sex (Sexxx Dreams, G.U.Y.), money (Donatella, MANiCURE, Fashion!), and drugs (Mary Jane Holland, Dope). But is Lady Gaga really advocating for all these things? Her lyrics push the limits, forcing us to realize how ridiculous it is to think that wealth and fashion are the most important things in life. For example, the introduction to “Donatella” (“I am so fab. Check it out, I’m blonde. I’m skinny. I’m rich. And I’m a little bit of a bitch.”) is laughable. We are not laughing at Lady Gaga; rather, we are laughing with her.

When people tell me that they dislike Lady Gaga’s album, I believe it is because they did not take the time to really listen to the album and think about what she is saying. Through the collaborations with DJ White Shadow and Zedd, Lady Gaga says what she has to say, and she says it loudly.

In the end, people are going to either love or hate ARTPOP. It depends on whether or not they have an emotional connection with the music. If the music speaks to you the way it did to me, you will enjoy the album. To show you an example of how the music spoke to me, here’s a link to my favorite song from the album, “Gypsy.” Enjoy!