Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘The Voice’

Blake Shelton: Country Rock Star

Blake Shelton in Concert
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Hollywood Bowl

Ten Times Crazier Tour 2014

Special guests: Dan+Shay, Neal McCoy, the Band Perry

Songs performed: 19 You+ Me (Dan + Shay); The Shake, Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles on (Neal McCoy); Done, Night Gone Wasted, You Lie, All Your Life, I’m a Keeper, Timber (Pitbull feat. Ke$ha cover), Chainsaw, Fat Bottomed Girls (Queen cover), Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, If I Die Young, Better Dig Two (The Band Perry); All About Tonight, The More I Drink, She Wouldn’t Be Gone, Over, Doin’ What She Likes, Kiss My Country Ass, Mine Would Be You, Nobody But Me, Some Beach, Ol’ Red, Who Are You When I’m Not Looking, Hillbilly Bone, Sure Be Cool If You Did, Neon Light, My Eyes, Over You, Austin, Drink on It, Home, Honey Bee, Boys ‘Round Here, Footloose, God Gave Me You (Blake Shelton)Blake Shelton

Comments: Blake Shelton brought his Ten Times Crazier Tour to a sold-out crowd at the Hollywood Bowl this past weekend. He’s been riding high the past couple of years after various wins as Entertainer of the Year from fans and peers, #1 singles and albums, plus a mentoring role for the #1 singing competition ‘The Voice”. He showed the city that he can party like the country rock star that he is and still be a sensitive romantic too (his wife is fellow singer Miranda Lambert).

The evening was MC’d by Neal McCoy, the Filipino country star from the 90’s. I was not familiar with this guy at all. But he kept things moving along between the acts. First up was country duo, Dan + Shay. They share the same record label as Blake Shelton, Warner Bros.. They started with “Paradise City” by Guns ‘N Roses. I know it from the movie/play “Rock of Ages.” They proceeded to sing songs from their debut album. Their vocals were very nice — stronger than Florida Georgia Line, who are very popular at the moment. Their big hit from last year “19 You + I” closed out the set. They also did Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” in the middle of their set, so they definitely love their 80’s rock music.

Next up was Neal McCoy. He joked about how he was going to take things back to the 90’s…. and he played a few of his hits that I had never heard of. Two of them sounded like novelty songs to me, with one OK ballad. He also introduced his band members, who all took turns singing solo…. Everything from Justin Timberlake and One Republic to Adele.

The next act up was the family group, the Band Perry. Consisting of brothers Neil and Reid, and sister Kimberly on lead vocals, they are definitely on their way up thanks to their 2nd album “Pioneer” and it’s hit single “Done”.

This group has really won me over with their appearances on TV awards shows. It is apparent that the group has out-grown their opening act gig, and is ready to be a headliner. I remember seeing Blake as an opening act back in 2005 as an opening act for Rascal Flatts. I knew he was going on to bigger things soon and I was right! The Band Perry for me has taken over the hole left by the Dixie Chicks. They have catchy songs, with a lot of attitude. The crowd really was into it, and ate it all up including the inspired covers of Pitbull & Kesha (Timber) and Queen (Fat Bottomed Girls). “Done,” “You Lie” and “Better Dig Two” were the highlights of their set. They employed 3 large video screens, plus 4 towers of lights on the stage to add to the production value.

Neal was back between acts… covering CeeLo and Lionel Richie. Plus, he also chose a couple of winners from the people that tweeted him for better seats to the show.

Blake Shelton finally took the stage around 9 PM for his 2 hour+ show. Named after a song on his “Based on a True Story” album, I found it curious that he didn’t even sing the song the tour was named after (Ten Times Crazier). But we did get one new song —“Neon Light” from his brand new “Bringing Back the Sunshine” album that was released the same week of this show.

Blake is one of those men who genuinely seems like a nice guy. He’s the guy you want to hang out with and have a drink with at a backyard BBQ. He talked about how he was going to 2 things in his show: play country music and drink. And he definitely did. Plus he displayed his sensitive side too, with his romantic ballads. He played guitar on most of the songs, switching instruments often.

He played 5 songs from the “Based on a True Story” album, the 8th of his career. He even went back and made fun of the fact that he used to have a mullet and wear a cowboy hat. He put on the hat when he sang “Nobody Like Me” from his “Barn & Grill” album. That was the album that won me over back in 2005, long before “The Voice”. I loved the stories he told with his songs, and his sense of humor. Gwen Sebastian, one of the finalists from “The Voice” that was on Team Blake, sang with him on the #1 song “My Eyes”. He mentioned how him and Miranda take turns taking her out of tour with them.

His staging seemed more sparse compared to the Band Perry. There was a tower of lights near the back of the stage. Plus a large screen, that had different backdrops projected on it during the night.

He performed 2 songs acoustically, 2 of the most important songs of his career according to him. The first was “Over You,” a song he wrote with Miranda about his brother who died in a car crash. He never recorded it, but she did and had a hit with it. The second was his first #1 hit “Austin.”

The pacing of his set was not as strong as the Band Perry’s was. But then again, they had half the time that he did. A sea of cell phones accompanied his cover of Michael Buble’s “Home”. He was saying how he wished they were filming that night, cause no one would believe all the country fans in Hollywood.

The first encore was his cover of Kenny Loggin’s “Footloose.” Still a fun song to dance to, no matter who is singing in. He chose to end the night with his ballad “God Gave Me You” from his “Red River Blue” CD. This is a song that would be perfect for a wedding. And for anyone in love… that’s why he chose it to end the show. The lyrics could also apply to a singer and his fans.

It was nice to see a gay couple embracing and singing the lyrics to each other to the last song. The crowd was about 60% female that night. Unfortunately, there was an issue with some drunk people arguing, and security had to be called in. I do feel that the venue has placed too much emphasis on drinking lately. This was the 2nd time this summer that an incident has occurred near where I was sitting.

It would have been cool if Miranda had shown up, but it was not to be. Thanks to Blake, his band and crew for a great evening of music at the world famous Hollywood Bowl.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

The Problem with The Voice

NBC’s The Voice returns this fall for all new episodes with new coaches: Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams. This show has taken the country by storm for sure. People love the rotating chairs and the concept of finding a real singer… someone known for their Voice. Adam Levine and Blake Shelton’s popularity have both soared since they have been on the show. But what about the winners? Can you name one, and if so, what is the title of their hit single? So there is definitely a problem with the show as Adam Levine himself suggested. I watched this show the first 3 seasons, but gave up when I saw that you never heard from the winners again. It’s not like the contestants aren’t talented because they are. Read on for my suggestions to make this show relevant to today’s pop charts.The Voice Season 7

  1. First off I feel there is a disconnect between the show and the singer’s post Voice careers. With American Idol, they are invested with the winners. The company behind Idol (19 Entertainment) manages them after they win. So that is why the contestants do a tour and an album each for the Top 2 usually. Not so with the Voice. I think in season 1, there was a small tour for the Top Ten. There was a recent tour this past summer too. But not enough to really connect with their fans.
  2. You can say it is all about the voice all you want. But in reality, looks and personality play a big part too. So are great songs, great producers, and having a marketing budget behind you.
  3. There’s too much of The Voice on TV. With NBC, running the show 2 times a year, there is not much time for the winner to celebrate. By the time one gets their album out finally, another winner is already being crowned. The most recent winner last May 20th was Josh Kaufman. The previous winner was Tessanne Chin and her album came out July 1. Did anyone care?
  4. So much fuss is made about the celebrity mentors. Sure, star power is nice. But why not have people more relevant to becoming a star? I am thinking of songwriters, producers, stylists, talent managers, radio DJs… Dianne Warren and David Foster are 2 names that come to my mind who would be good. Pharrell being on there definitely adds something… as for me, I am more familiar with his productions and songs, than I am with his own records.
  5. NBC has 2 venues that I think should be used to promote Voice winners or contestants… The Today Show and Saturday Night Live. Why not have a winner be the musical guest on SNL, or do a morning concert on The Today Show?
  6. Why not give us a release date or a preorder option for the winner’s album? Idol has done that for the past 2 winners… Candice’s album was delayed. But Caleb Johnson’s album came out about 2 months after winning Idol. And it is good too. (I guess I was one of few to care… he debuted horribly, so Idol is having a tough time breaking stars these days too.)
  7. Let the contestants sing their own songs! I have never seen an original song on there yet. Idol is letting the contestants do originals the last few seasons. It gives the viewer a better look into what type of artist they want to be.

So will you be watching this season of The Voice? One of these days someone is going to break out. I might watch it again… and I hope that the winner actually does something this time.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Kelly Clarkson: Sass & Soul

Kelly Clarkson in Concert
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Nokia Theatre LA Live

Special guest: Matt Nathanson

Stronger Tour 2012

Songs performed: “Dark Side,” “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” “Since U Been Gone,” “Heavy In Your Arms,” “When You Believe,” “Einstein,” “Walk Away,” “Til the World Ends,” “Leave the Pieces,” “I Know You Won’t,” “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” “Let Me Down,” “I Forgive You,” “Already Gone,” “You Still Won’t Know What It’s Like,” “Breakaway,” “Mr. Know It All,” “Miss Independent,” “Never Again,” “Because of You,” “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” “My Life Would Suck Without You”

Comments: Kelly Clarkson brought her “Stronger” tour to LA at the Nokia Theatre last night. I was instantly reminded why I fell in love with her in the first place on “American Idol.” She is just the girl next door with a fantastic voice, and a down home personality. This is someone you could see hanging out with, and someone you can relate to. She has one of the most distinctive voices in pop music today, and for me, she can sing just about anything. And she showed that she can do rock, pop, soul, blues, country and even dance.

This was my third time seeing Kelly. The first time was on her co-headlining tour with Clay Aiken. Second was on her headlining tour for the “Breakaway” album. Years of recording, touring and award show performances have done her well. She is the seasoned veteran now after winning “Idol” over 10 years ago.

The show started with “Dark Side,” one of the new songs. Using a screen backdrop at the front of the stage, they displayed headline images from the tabloids about her — Is she too heavy, is she a diva, is she losing sponsors, is she washed up at 29? Showing from the show that she put on, she is far from over! This was followed by 2 of her big hits from her “Breakaway” album: “Behind These Hazel Eyes” and “Since U Been Gone.”

(more…)

Who Will Win American Idol Season 11?

The reality institution has shown some wear after 10 seasons. It has seen ratings decline and new shows like “The Voice” and “The X Factor” have come on challenging their formula of taking unknowns and turning them into household names overnight.American Idol Season 11

“America, you’re on fire, because this is an amazing top 10 brewing,” said judge Randy Jackson. We know some will rise to the occasion, others will crash and burn — and don’t forget a surprise elimination or 2. This year’s finalists are a diverse crop of individuals, but who’s going to win? Here are my predictions:

10. Soulful 28-year-old teacher Elise Testone of SC. Reminds me some of the girl from Season 10, Hailey Reinhart. Needs to find her groove, or she is a goner too. Despite the fact that she was good on “Let’s Stay Together,” I think her age is a factor. This is a young person’s game.

9. 17-year-old student Deandre Brackensick of CA. Otherwise known as the pretty boy with the hair he likes to flip. I liked him more with his hair pulled back.

(more…)

Singing Competition Overload

I admit it, I like reality shows. But I am starting to feel a bit of singing competition overload. In the past year, we have seen “The Voice,” “American Idol, “The Sing Off,” and “The X Factor” not to mention “America’s Got Talent” and “The Glee Project” too which have singers on them. It seems like America is searching for new talent year round now.The X Factor

“American Idol” is still the best of the bunch as far as I am concerned. There is something about taking someone who was an unknown and turning them into a star. You can’t deny the track record: all the album sales, concert tickets, Grammy Awards and even an Oscar winner from their ranks. It is a pop culture institution at this point. It introduced the world to Simon Cowell and reinvigorated the career of Paula Abdul. Sure there have been some weaker seasons and winners, but overall it is the one I still love the most. And the one I follow pretty religiously. They have 3 genuine stars from their ranks: Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood.

“The X Factor” was supposed to knock “Idol” out of the water — but it hasn’t. It has done decently in the ratings, but to me, it is not that different than “Idol.” It was renewed for season 2, but there are some things that need to be fixed. Nicole Scherzinger needs to go, she brings nothing to the competition. She is a good singer and I enjoyed her when she played in “Rent” on stage but not here. I don’t like the drastic cuts, having 2 cuts where 2 acts go. If you need to start earlier to avoid things like that, then do it. The same thing happened to “So You Think You Can Dance” when it was on in the fall (since there is a shorter time span in the fall from Sept to Dec. than when shows go in the spring from Jan. to May). The arrangements and production are so overblown. Do we need all the fireworks, and backup dancers? Sure these people want to be touring artists… but they will only get there based on vocals and great songs. I would like to see more of the actual mentoring of the contestants with their mentors. I do like the idea of having older singers and groups too, so keep those categories. It is supposed to be about the SINGERS and not the judges, so remember that!

(more…)

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: