The Moments that made TBD Fest


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My good friend Jerel and partner in crime for TBD Fest just put up his all encompassing TBD wrap up blog, which you can check out here. In it he covered all the broad strokes of the festival experience, highlighting all the different bands we saw, food we ate and artistic installations we witnessed. So in interest of not covering the same ground I bring to you a more microscopic look at TDB through the lens of my favorite individual moments of TBD. Each festival is a collection of miniature moments forged by the fires of the collective consciousness and frenetic energy that is unique to each individual event. This is a celebration of those moments which helped to make the second annual TBD Fest the powerhouse of artistic expression it ended up being.

I’ll start with the first and altogether funniest moment I experienced at TBD. During Joywave’s entire set they had kept the crowd entertained, not only with their killer and perfectly sequenced set but also with the jokes and witty charisma of lead man Daniel Armbruster. However, nothing that came before it was quite as funny as when Armbruster began the chants of “one more song,” essentially calling for his own encore. Armbruster feigned surprise at such an outpouring of support and proclaimed that this had to be the very first encore in TBD Fest history. Having got his laughs and the “encore” he wanted, Armbruster and his fellow band mates kicked off the last song and tore down the house in magnificent style.

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The next moment comes to you in the form of a song, more specifically a cover song. Even more specifically Tears for Fears cover of 1992 Radiohead mega-hit “Creep”. Now this moment really resonated with me for two reasons, even outside of how brilliantly it was performed. First and foremost, as any good rock historian will tell you, there is no way in hell you will hear “creep” performed by it’s original makers. With all the vitriolic hate Radiohead have for for the song it might even be best experienced as a cover. Despite all of the negative vibes surrounding this song it still holds a special place in my musical history and I’m glad to have seen it live in one capacity or another. Secondly and perhaps more deeply, I could not help but feel a sense of a changing of the guard occurring. No Tears for Fears are still clearly a cultural powerhouse being able to headline festivals in 2015 and Radiohead aren’t exactly the new kids on the block anymore but to me this cover signaled a nod of respectful appreciation from the 80s to the 90s. A retroactive vote of confidence and plea of appreciation for carrying the tradition of odd outsider music for the next generation. Perhaps that’s me just being sentimental though.

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This next chewy morsel of festival good will has less to do with a particular artist and more to do with the festival goers themselves. Allow me to set the stage. The Black Lips had been putting on quite the show for their whole set, talking in weird voices, shouting out to their potentially imaginary friend Luna, and generally being quality showmen. A bit of a light mosh pit had been forming and had slowly been gaining speed as the set went on. This caught the eye of someone who I assume was The Black Lips roadie, as he was up on stage with them at one point. This man, who was a larger individual, came down off the stage to provide a buffer between the rowdy moshers and the people near the front of the stage who had no interest in moshing. As The Black Lips counted off their last song Jerel and I jumped into the pit, correctly predicting it would be the final mosh of the festival. As we aggressively pranced about I noticed a particularly wild mosher continually slamming around and getting pushed back by the resident “larger man” mosh boss. As the song continued on they began exchanging heated words and I immediately smelled a fight brewing. The tension did not subside but managed not to boil over for the remainder of the fight. As The Black Lips said their goodbye and the crowd began to disperse, before I even knew what was happening both men were in an lovingly respectful embrace! I could not quite hear what they were saying but I imagine it was along the lines of “thanks for keeping me in line man, I really respect that,” “I respect you too man, take care of yourself and have a good festival.” Now that might be a little far off but the crux of why I liked this moment so much was the way in which festivals can bring out each person’s camaraderie and I certainty felt that camaraderie at TBD.

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Lastly but not leastly we come to none other than Chicago native Chance the Rapper. My personal favorite performer of the entire weekend. This moment ends up being a bit more aqueous than the previous moments but it started as soon as Chance kicked off his set. Bringing an energy and closeness to the audience unmatched throughout the whole festival, Chance immediately had us on his side. Even though I was not familiar with every Chance the Rapper cut, I would sing along every time that I could halfway catch on to the choruses.  The crowd seemed to be giving all the energy they had and Chance was dishing it right back at us in a monumental showing of skill and passion. Suddenly the mood slowed down as Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment began to chill down and vibe. Chance then proclaimed he was gonna play a song we never heard before but one we all knew the words to. I immediately assumed it would be an old school rap/R&B throwback, one of which I was hoping I would in fact know the words to so that I would not let my new found hero Chance the Rapper down.  However, I could not have been more wrong as Chance began to sing “And I said hey.” Now I will give you a second to ponder what that line might be from…but I myself immediately recognized it as being the Arthur theme song. For those that are not in the know Arthur was a PBS kids show in the 90s era and it had arguably one of, if not the best theme songs of the decade. Along with being a killer tune, the Arthur theme song has a wonderful message of learning to work and play and get along with each other. At this point I am ecstatic along with the rest of the crowd as Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, and The Social Experiment throw down a deconstructed and all around awesome rendition of one of my favorite childhood memories. Needless to continue to say, that was my favorite moment of TBD Fest.

Beautiful Noise, Exquisite Tastes, and Creative Minds: The Complete TBD Fest 2015 Experience


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This past weekend TBD Fest has left a mark of music, art, design, food, and ideas in the city of Sacramento. The festival drew in thousands of diverse people, locals and visitors alike, to experience the unique Sacramento festival that is TBD.

To start off, this weekend was incredible. Everything from the acts to the food was something to look back on. The lineup fit the flow of the weekend; starting Friday off with bang, reaching a pinnacle of epicness on Saturday, and concluding with a sure sense of satisfaction on Sunday       (sorry for the tongue twister).

 

Festival Grounds

A vital part of any festival is to get a feel of where you will be for the next few days. The first thing to do is find a schedule and a map. They weren’t readily available, but the customer service tent had no problem handing out printed schedules (nothing too fancy, just a print out). Since there was no map, the only option was to explore the grounds.

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Having fun with the displays!

The grounds weren’t too vast and the layout was simple: a main stage on opposing sides with smaller stages near them. In between there was the “Rise + Create” space. A vendor village, complete with local vendors selling food, drinks, art, and clothing. All the food and drink being carefully crafted, the clothes being hand-made or hand-pressed, and beautiful pieces of art being created. This section of the festival truly shows the creative and tasteful minds of Sacramento. Near and around the “Rise + Create” space there were some awesome displays. Changing pillars of light, painted pyramids, murals, and the great display by PORTAL SAC. the perimeters of the grounds had the bars and food trucks. The festival even had it’s own giant ferris wheel (which all the proceeds from went to helping those recently affected by the California wildfires). There was a lot to see and do at TBD Fest besides watch the musical acts.

 

Demolicious Derby

If none of the musical acts were catching your attention or it was just too hot for you to be standing outside, then the “Demolicious Derby” was the place to go! It took place under a shaded tent with a nice patch of grass (I’m assuming so none of the dirt or dust flies into your food). It’s a cook off between two Sacramento chefs of the fine dining scene. They both have to use a certain ingredient. They also have to cook and serve out of a food truck. The food was completely free and completely delicious.

While waiting for the food, festival goers could watch the cooking from a live video feed screened on a large screen outside. The visuals and smells would make the audience even more hungry. Some moves such as adding the spice would make the audience “ooo” and “ahh.” A comedic MC would be hosting the event so it’s not just two dudes cooking food. Attendees would have to partake in both dishes and place their used forks in their respective choices. Both competitors were always good and humble chefs.

A little example of a cook off: both chefs had to use lamb. One made street tacos, but instead of a tortilla, he a used flattened and fried pork bun. The other made a greek style lamb poutine. Drooling yet? We were.

 

The Music

As mentioned  earlier, each day had a lineup that made a great flow for the weekend. Little disclaimer: I’m not really a big fan of EDM, so I didn’t catch much of the DJ sets.  

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Toro Y Moi

Friday was explosive. The first artist was the band, Cathedrals. With their chill, new wave sound, and heavy bass, Cathedrals gave the crowd something great to vibe to. Then I was able to catch Towkio, Chicago based rapper associated with Save Money and Vic Mensa. Even though the crowd didn’t know the words, Towkio and his DJ were able to pump up the crowd. Head back to the main stage and you would be able to catch the dreamy set of Toro Y Moi. This was one of the artists I was looking forward to watching the most, and they did not disappoint. Playing a good blend of the newest album, What

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Tyler, The Creator

for?, and their older stuff, the set was great. Ty Dolla $ign got the entire crowd dancing or jumping to his songs. The best part of his set was when he pulled out a bass and started groovin out (I didn’t know he could even play instruments). He was even able to stage dive into the crowd during the end of his set. The only EDM set I caught on Friday was some of was RL Grime’s. Playing a heavy trap set for the festival, he had everyone moving. The craziest crowd goes to the set of Sacramento native, Death Grips. The experimental industrial noise rap group made the biggest mosh pit of the weekend, bringing the first big dust cloud into the air. Being in the mosh, I breathed in a little too much dirt. The night ended with Tyler the Creator bringing  energy to the stage. Although he couldn’t bring the visuals he wanted, the set was still crazy. The crowd moshed, jumped, and sang along to the words. It wouldn’t be a Tyler the Creator set without his comedic side comments. The day really set the mood for the rest of the weekend.

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Chance the Rapper

Saturday was big. With the longest day of TBD Fest, there was a lot to do. Although the day was spent mostly walking around the grounds, eating, and hanging out, all the musical acts were great. Dark pop duo, ASTR, started the day off for me. They gave an electrifying performance with some heavy bass hits, melodic scales and licks, and some crazy dance moves. I even had the pleasure of interviewing them backstage (interview coming soon, really cool people). Joywave, an electronic indie band, drew one of the larger crowds for the small stages. Before playing, they took time to perfect their sound and it was worth it. The crowd was very responsive with each song and it was awesome to be apart of. Ratatat was one of my favorites for the weekend. The electric guitar duo had holograms and lasers, putting on one of the best visuals for the weekend. Porter Robinson had some nice visuals as well. Although I couldn’t really vibe to the music, he still put on a good show equipped with anime graphics and massive confetti shots. The crowd loved it. I was able to catch the tail end of Magic Man’s set on the opposing small stage. Although there weren’t that many people watching the set, they still gave it their all and ended with their hit, Paris. Chance the Rapper was the main act I was looking forward to for the whole weekend. The set was amazing. He came with his full band, Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, which made for a much fuller sound. The visuals weren’t top notch, but it didn’t matter because the music and energy put out from the performance was, to me, the best for this weekend. Sing alongs, jumping around, crowd participation, amazing trumpet solos, it had it all. Even though he admit to go out of order of their intended set due to excitement (Chance would become a father two days later) they still made it the best. Saturday had something big for fans of all different music genres.

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Tears For Fears

Sunday was a great way for the weekend to wind down. Up and coming rap/r&b artist (who recently made a song with Kanye West) Post Malone put on a good five song set to start off our day. Although he has blown up due to the success of his hit song, White Iverson, Post Malone still kept it humble, and kept it entertaining. He even performed White Iverson again for his closer, having the crowd sing the entire last verse to closer. After, we were walking and on the nearby small stage, this band O began to play. They were able to keep us and the others for their whole set. They’re an indie band from San Francisco, do check them out. I was sad to have missed Dr. Dog and A Place to Bury Strangers due to attending a Demolicious Derby, but I heard the sets were amazing. Right when we got to A Place to Bury Strangers, the lead singer had just smashed his guitar to end his set. Sad to have missed that, but it was on to the 90’s alt rock band, Dinosaur Jr.! Although they are getting old, they can still play flawlessly. With great

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Madeon

tunes and heart reaching solos, Dinosaur Jr. had a high-caliber set. After, Black Lips took the smaller stage. This goofy garage rock outfit from Georgia had a really fun set. After some jokes and moshing ensued, it was time for the OG (an older act, usually more famous in the 80’s)  headliner (every festival has to have one amiright?), Tears for Fears! Watching their set was like jumping back into the past, a time where most of the people attending TBD were either not alive or too young to go to a concert. Of course, the crowd sang along to classic hits such as Everybody Wants to Rule the World and their closer, Shout. They even surprised the audience with a slower yet full version of Creep by Radiohead. Madeon electrified the crowd as the last EDM performance of the weekend. I had to jump around a few times for that performance. I wasn’t able to stay, but I heard and read that crowd favorite Chromeo properly wrapped up TBD Fest with their funky tunes.

 

Closing Remarks

2015-09-22 04.01.12Overall, TBD Fest is a must-go for anyone in Sacramento, the surrounding Northern California area, or anyone in the world that wants to have a good time. Although not as big as famous festivals such as Cochella, TBD Fest is able to provide some of the top acts in music today in a comfortable yet enthralling environment. Everyone from the acts to the volunteers to the workers to the security to everyone else helped make this weekend what it was. It wasn’t just  about the music, but about the local artistic minds and tastemakers coming together to bring entertainment to Sacramento. It’s exactly what this city needs, a positive driving force in today’s creative culture.

 

 

Check out our mini Instagram Vlogs of the Festival!

If you liked this article, be sure to tune into KSSU.com on Wednesdays from 6:00pm-7:00pm for the 30/30! 30 minutes of music followed by 30 minutes of talk with me, Jerel Labson! 

Also be sure to follow my personal blog, jmbldup.wordpress.com!  

 

“Matriarch” by Veil of Maya Album Review


 

Veil-of-Maya-Matriarch-artwork-600x600So here I am, chilling in my philosophy class before the professor shows up. I whip out my iPod and check out the channels I am subscribed too. I mostly use YouTube for finding new music and cool skate videos. Browsing through the videos, I noticed that Sumerian Records put out the whole new Veil of Maya album “Matriarch” and I about exploded. I had to sit for an hour and fifteen minutes anticipating the awesomeness of VoM. Luckily, I only stayed in class for about twenty minutes because class today was an optional Final Exam Study session. Who needs to study for finals anyways? I’ll just wait until the day before my finals.

So I had already heard a few songs from the Album and had already been in love. The rest of the album was fantastic as well. I did not even need to listen to the entirety of each song before clicking to the next and welcoming in frission (where you get goosebumps from good music). There was the usual VoM stuff; technical math-core (complicated song structure), drop tuned guitars, and ominous background sound effects. VoM threw in some new stuff such as clean vocals (in comparison to the low gutturals from the “Common Man’s Collapse” Album), guitar melodies in the higher registry, and an overall album theme, hence the name “Matriarch”. Before the album was released, my favorite of the leaked songs was Mikasa, which also had a music video. There was heavy breakdowns, awesome never-before heard clean vocals, and an overall empowering feeling brought forth by the entire band.

Looking at the track listing, each song is named after Matriarchs or powerful women, both fictional and non-fictional. In one of the YouTube comments, someone even mentioned that one of the song names is a very threatening character from an action anime. I took the Youtuber’s word and moved on to the music. I will have to say that my favorite song, other than the leaked ones, would have to be “Daenerys”. I have no idea where the name Daenerys comes from, but it did not spell check me on Microsoft Word, so it is legit. Anyways, the song starts out really light with some nice moving around on the guitar. It then goes into a two-measure guitar solo before the vocalist pops in and the song takes a more serious turn. With some power chords blasting right into a heavy breakdown, Veil of Maya shows off what they are known for. Right after are some clean vocals from their new vocals, which were pretty impressive by the way. The chorus is repeated throughout with some technical instrumentals in the background, before closing the song with a guitar solo build up to more cleans and a mini breakdown. Finally, a guitar playing a riff in the higher register ends out the song.

Most of the time I listen to music on YouTube except for when I really like a whole album, which I purchase to support the band. Veil of Maya, I’m going to support you and buy your new album “Matriarch” when I get home tonight.

Thanks for reading everyone!

I may or may not have a show during finals week due to, well, finals. However, check out www.kssu.com and listen to other DJs do their stuff!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

Zelda Over Finals


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The best way to prepare for finals is not at all.

Just kidding.

That’s terrible.

I only have two “real” finals. “Real” meaning using scantrons, studying from a study guide, and bringing in a notecard. The real finals are for philosophy and geography, so it is probably a good idea to study and bring in notecards. However, I work two jobs, so studying does not really seem like a good idea when I could be sleeping or getting music for my show or even playing Zelda, because Zelda: Skyward Sword is taking too long to finish. I will probably study an hour before my classes and put some chicken scratch writing on a tiny index card. Seems like the best option.

For my other two classes, Music and Theatre, we have “different” assignments. “Different” meaning not using notecards, scantrons, or formal study guides. In theatre, we all passed around papers, writing one entry on a paper about a given dialogue. You cannot write your name, and you have to write about whatever the professor says. For example, he says write a name and greeting and you write “What’s up, my name is Gregorio.” You can make it normal or comedic. We did this for ten entries, then opened up the paper. There are a bunch of ridiculous things written, but for our final we have to tie in all ten entries and turn it into a monologue that makes sense. We then perform the monologue in front of the whole class. Good thing I have some experience acting, or else I would die. As for Music class, we have a choice of playing a solo or a duet. The duet has two options: two moderate songs or on hard song. The solo is just a choice of three hard songs.

So yeah, my finals are not going to be too hectic. I just have to make sure I beat Zelda before finals week so I can focus. If not, I will be tracing and retracing my steps trying to find the next dragon in my mind while I’m sitting in class.

Thanks for reading! For more shenanigans and random subjects to talk about (along with some great music) listen to my show “Shred the Gnar” on www.kssu.com every Tuesday morning at 8 o’ clock!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

Dissecting The Plot In You


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Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of “The Plot In You” because one of their new songs popped up in my feed on YouTube, and I opened up my brain to see what I can recall of TPIY. Basically, I liked one of their songs a whole lot, but never took the chance to really check them out. The Plot In You is a four piece metal-core band from Ohio, with One EP and two Albums out. Notorious for their harsh lyrics and calling out particular groups of people while keeping that metal vibe, TPIY quickly gained fame after releasing their debut song Wifebeater from the EP “Wifebeater” (which one could assume was about his father). The Plot In You is signed onto Invogue Records, and will be releasing a new album which currently has an unknown release date.

The song that popped up in my feed was called “Crows”, which is about Landon Tewer’s (the frontman) life and how he has changed, but so has everyone else. The “Crows” symbolizes death and how in the end, everyone faces it. This is emphasized with the line “The crows are waiting on me”. This song was an unreleased track from the b side a 7” they never released. My curiosity took me further, so I played the album stream from “Could You Watch Your Children Burn.” I had already heard tracks from their album “Firstborn” a long time ago, but this album really got to me. Most songs consisted of talking about how people who are hypocrites and live a mundane existence should separate themselves, or simply die, from society. Tewers talks about religious folk, lustful males, rapists, and his own family very unkindly. One of my favorite songs is “Troll” which I also saw live when TPIY was on the “About That Life Tour” with Attila. The song basically empowers the listeners individuality and gives the belief that you are a juggernaut and will not take any flack from anyone. Another song that was a favorite by TPIY on YouTube was the song “Premeditated”. In this song, Tewers talks about his plan to kill a rapist who violated someone very dear to him. With clean vocals, dark breakdowns, and the usual “I will destroy you” moments from TPIY, I could easily see why this was a favorite by fans.
All in all, TPIY is a very angry band. Their song “My Old Ways” that was released in a music video on February 23rd seemed to be quite lighter in comparison to “Troll”. To hear that kind of change and it still be a good song makes me very excited to hear their upcoming album. To make a long explanation short: The Plot In You is a band full of angry dudes, relatable stories, great songs, and a uniqueness that I have not heard from any other band. They are probably not sane people, but hey, who is really?

Thanks for reading you lovely people! If you want to hear music from The Plot In You and other bands that I just so happen to enjoy, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” on www.kssu.com Tuesday mornings at 8 o’ clock!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

The Big Three Albums Coming Soon


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The weather is getting more and more intense everyday just like the new music currently being produced by August Burns Red, Veil Of Maya, and Like Moths to Flames. All three bands have announced that they are going to release a new album between May and June. Also, all three have released on YouTube, under their labels’ channels, a song from their new albums. Are these guys in cahoots, or are us metal fans just blessed? Probably both, but in the end I got to buy three albums in the very near future.

First off, we have Like Moths to Flames who released a debut single on April 6th titled, “Bury Your Pain” from their upcoming project “The Dream Is Dead” which has an unspecified release date. “Bury Your Pain” has everything you would expect from LMTF; clean vocals, heavy breakdowns, assertive lyrics towards a targeted audience, and the over feeling of wanting to sing along and jump with the band. I mean, the song is still good, but it sounds like all their other stuff.. The good side to this is that you can always rely on LMTF to put out good stuff. The bad side is that it could potentially get played out or get old real quick. We will just have to wait and see what happens when “The Dream Is Dead” is released.

Up next we have August Burns Red, who published the song “The Wake” on April 13th from their upcoming album “Found In Far Away Places” which will be released on June 30th. As you may or may not know, ABR’s last album “Rescue & Restore” was pretty light-hearted and had some Christian Worship influences in it. “The Wake” is heavy, dark, and similar to the way that ABR sounded before their last album. With references to disasters inside of the bible and impending things to come, “The Wake” is like a rhino; strong and flattening out the competition. I am so ready for this next album to come out already that I have listening to “The Wake” everywhere I go with my shoulders and chest puffed up. It makes me look a constipated bear, which is pretty brutal.

Last but most certainly not least, Veil of Maya has released three songs: “Phoenix” (January 1st), “Mikasa” (March 23rd), and “Teleute” (April 13th) all from the upcoming album “Matriarch” which will release on May 12th. VoM is famous for their technical skills along with deep, guttural vocals. The band currently released a Breaking Bad parody video called, “Breaking Bands” which explains that the vocalist is starting to do cleans and multiple ranges of vocals while the guitarist is switching up his style. So far, all their songs released are amazing. The vocals are on point while the guitar playing and drumming reminds me of a mixture between old VoM and Born Of Osiris. Veil of Maya took a risk, and I 100% believe that it paid off.

To hear some of these bands and other craziness, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” Tuesday mornings at 8 only on http://www.kssu.com.

Below are the links to some of the new songs mentioned in this blog.

Soul Stealing Puppets, and other “Avenue Q” talk…


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I have a friend who is scared of puppets. So, of course, I invited her to Avenue Q. And, I think her fear may have rubbed off a little. There were some, normally inanimate, objects that sang. The way the mouth and eyes looked was scary, and resulted in title of this piece. Avenue Q is a musical for adults featuring puppets, which is a really strange mix. The show takes its look from Sesame Street. There are 3 types of characters: Humans, puppet humans, and puppet monsters. For this blog entry, I will refer to the actors that are not puppeteering as actors. I will refer to the actors that are puppeteering in this show, as just puppeteers. That’s just for simplicity’s sake, they are all talented actors.

Avenue Q is an exception to puppet shows being for kids. It is, delightfully, not for children. A lot of puppet shows I can recall don’t show the puppeteers, so I don’t know how much this is thought about: But, are the puppeteers doing their job if I’m focusing on them, or if I’m focused on the puppet? On one hand, the puppets are meant to be characters in the musical. The puppets are having the conversations. Kids are visually fixated on the colorful fuzzy characters. But, speaking for me, I look at the actors usually. It was a difficult transition for me to look at puppets, instead of the puppeteers. I remember consciously trying to focus on the puppets. The puppeteers in Avenue Q are all in black, so it seems I should be focused on the puppets. But, these are talented people, who are characters in plays and musicals. The focus would usually on them. Also, if they didn’t put energy into the performance, the puppets wouldn’t have it either. And, I can remember the body language that some of these puppeteers had, and it seemed like it was adding to the limited body language that the puppet could show. Taylor Grossman, for example was very kinetically emotive. The puppeteers used the same body language that their puppets had. I ended up watching the puppeteers a lot, because I liked their performance so much. So, they did a good job. But, did they do their job, as it pertains to me looking at the puppet?

Speaking of body language, some of the puppets were handled by two puppeteers. But, only one could be the voice of the character. The other puppeteer would provide just the body language of the character. This was odd but necessary. Having someone on stage doing only the body language of a character, while the character is talking, is a special kind of entertainment. I loved taking some time to watch the other puppeteer. I think this supports the idea that the puppeteers added lent their body language to the puppet. They had the facial expressions, the character movements, and all while puppeteering.

And, about that puppeteering, it looks brutal. Having one person puppeteer one puppet, that doesn’t seem too bad. But, add one more person, and I was amazed at their lack of falling. Have you ever watched ice skating, and were in awe that they don’t trip all over each other? That was me every time I saw two puppeteers and one puppet. Just puppeteering the puppet seems ridiculous. The puppets’ mouths open up, so at least one of them controls that. And, each of the puppeteers use one of their hands for the puppets hands. So, the person on the left is the puppet’s left hand. The person on the right, is the puppets right hand. I can’t think of how I could manipulate the puppets hand, and make it look like it was connected to the same body as the other hand. Also, the hand movements would be strange. Then, you have to move around like that. There are song and dance numbers, and the two puppeteers need to be connected at the hip. Some of the choreography had them moving around quickly, and moving back and forth around other puppeteers. The whole thing amazed, and perplexed, me.

I did just enjoy the show. Avenue Q is a great show, and this cast and crew did really well with it.

Tracy is a DJ with KSSU

William Theophilus Brown’s painting at the Crocker


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I grew up hearing stories about how my family members worked for the Crocker family. One of the members of my family was their driver, another supposedly tutored someone in the family in art. I like seeing all the different art styles. I decided to look at some contemporary works on my recent visit to the Crocker.

I saw an acrylic painting named “Untitled (Industrial Cityscape)” by William Theophilus Brown. Brown was an American artist, born in Moline, Illinois on April 7, 1919. He died at 92 on February 8, 2012. Brown began painting recognizable figures at a time when non-objective paintings were the norm. During the 1960’s, Brown became a member of the “Bay Area Figurative Movement.” These group of artist went against the prevailing art style of the time, which was abstract expressionism. These artists wanted to return to a style that focused on figurative representations of what they saw. The Bay Area Figurative Movement is broken up into three groups: The first generation, the “bridge” generation , and the second generation. Brown was a member of the bridge generation.

The untitled industrial cityscape painting was completed in 1988, and is 54 inches by 60 inches. The painting is representational. It wasn’t extremely detailed. Mostly, just the basic architecture of the buildings were represented. The perspective of the painting was done from a particular point in the alley. Most cityscapes that I can remember seeing put the viewer dead center in the middle of the street. This painting puts you off to the side of an alley. You can tell this, in part, because the angles of the lines on the right side of the painting are almost straight, the ones on the left side are much more diagonal. The light source was represented by light gray on the street in the background, and progressively darker shadows toward the foreground.

The painting reminded me of an architect’s 3-dimensional drawing. I liked it. Even though it wasn’t highly realistic, it still captured the feeling of being in an alley. I think the placement of the viewer’s perspective really helped to create this. Putting the viewer dead center in the middle of the street, in my opinion, gives it an unrealistic feel. It’s feels artificial. Brown put the viewer off to the side, and made it feel more like you might actually be walking down this street.

Tracy is a DJ with KSSU Sacramento States only student run radio station.

 

National Poetry Month Recommended Read: Verses From Above


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For those that have no clue, April is National Poetry Month. A month dedicated back in 1996 to raise awareness and appreciation for the art of poetry in the United States. What better way to celebrate this art then by actually reading some poetry.  If you have no idea where to start, here is a book of poetry that you may want to pick up: Verses From Above by Salvin Chahal. Verses from Above is an amazing book of poetry, hitting many subjects that may leave readers wondered. With each poem, Chahal creates vivid scenes and worlds with much detail. He equips the literary device of metaphors well to his advantage. The comparisons made are ones that readers may have never thought of. Poem long metaphors such as treating his sister or women as museums or one liners like,

My mother’s love is rich like the soil in Egypt when the Nile would flood.

Another favorite is

Boil every moment you fell in love, in a pot molded by your hardened façade.

This book challenges any reader to really think and dive into every poem. Not just skim through. That’s what’s great about Chahal’s first book; every read through could be a different experience. Each poem contains many layers that scream out to be known, it is our job as the reader to find out the message. Chahal writes from his core, everything that he has experienced and seen. Even though the author is only 20, don’t be mistaken, he has done a lot of growing up. His thoughts may reflect our own or it may challenge, but that’s one of the main goals of the art of poetry. Chahal writes about the many aspects of cultures in his writing: his heritage, our generation, school, the system, etc. Harsh and honest, beautiful and fulfilling, this book must be checked out.

At the end of the book, Chahal has written “workshops” for readers to explore their own minds, mapping it out onto paper. The book immediately becomes an interactive experience. There are many blank pages to add personal content, and it doesn’t even have to be poetry. The workshops include experiences such as writing a letter to your 6th grade self, thinking of personal traits and weaknesses and writing about them, regrets, role models, and the list goes on. After reading a thought provoking book, this author urges you to look within. The workshops are definitely a challenge, but for any reader that is up to it, they may find themselves expressing thoughts that haven’t been thought about before. Which is poetry in itself. You may unknowingly find your words and sentences forming into beautiful poetry.

What started from a daily poetry series became a book. It was officially launched with a special event at creative art space Sol Collective in Sacramento back in February 13th of this year. The momentum hasn’t stopped for the young author / emcee yet. Salvin Chahal recently performed and was part of a SXSW official showcase, as hosted by Sol Collective. He’s not new to the festival or showcase scene either, he was a poet mentor and a 2012 SAYS Slam team champion. His work is far from finished, Chahal is currently working on a musical project right now, taking his poetic skills to the mic. For more information follow his social media accounts :

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SalSuave

Instagram: @_Salvin

tumblr: sal-c.tumblr.com

The author of this blog, Jerel Labson, is a current radio host at KSSU.com. His show, the 30/30, is every Wednesday from 4pm-5pm. 30 minutes of music, followed by 30 minutes of talk with special guests every week.

Album Review: “Lost Isles” by Oceans Ate Alaska


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is a metal-core band the United Kingdom with a unique taste. Some flavors of Djent, Thrash, Death, Pop Punk, and even Electronica float around in this UK Combo. When I first listened to Oceans Ate Alaska, they were a scene/emo kid band performing the class “screamo” music with open note breakdowns. This album “Lost Isles” has been a metamorphosis for Oceans. They started out as puny, long-haired caterpillars and evolved into fire-breathing dragons. Here’s my take on “Lost Isles”.

The intro, “Four Thirty Two” is an instrumental with some radio and television broadcasts on natural disasters playing in the background. Great work done in this song, piece and also in the instrumental interlude. The pure talent and raw sound during these pieces show how the band has progressed in accordance to music theory. Tempo changes, experimental tuning, drum variety, all sorts of vocals (both clean and screamed), and of course some master guitar shredding amplify this bands talent ten-fold. You can tell how much work they put into this album just by these pieces alone.

But wait! It gets even better. Oceans Ate Alaska released three tracks before the actually full length release date, which was February 24th. These songs are “Blood Brothers” (Lyric video), “Floorboards” (Lyric Video), and “Vultures And Sharks” (Music Video). One thing you will notice is how thick the accent is coming out of the front-man. It works really well because with the knowledge of where these guys came from, you can match up the style with the accent. With technical drops, crazy good melodies, and use of techno in the background (but not overdone) made me so excited for the release of the full length. Maybe a little too excited because I listened to “Blood Brothers” about five times a day for a week.

Other songs worth mentioning are “High Horse”,”Linger”, “Entity”, and the debut hit “Lost Isles”. “High Horse” is heavy as frick and is similar to Attila’s lyric style. Basically, we are better than you and will hurt you if you try to take us down. With a little bit of Djent influences, this song made me sweaty and flexed out while just sitting in class, which probably made it uncomfortable for the shy girl next to me. “Linger” and “Entity” cannot be fully appreciated without deciphering the lyrics. I will not ruin the surprise, but your mind will be blown. Also, “Linger” as both clean and distorted guitar throughout, which is strange for metal, but it worked out fantastic! Last but certainly not least is “Lost Isles” which is pretty much everything I have just written, but precisely placed together in one masterpiece. I feel like this should have been on the last song on the album just to give listeners those last tears of joy and bliss before popping the album out their car radio.

To hear some new stuff from Oceans Ate Alaska and a variety of other bands, go listen to my show “Shred the Gnar” on http://www.kssu.com Tuesdays at 8 o’clock!

Thanks for reading, DJGingerbeard out.