Event Review: Slander – Headbangers Ball


Don’t let the name fool you! Headbangers Ball is not what you’re thinking. MTV’s classic late-night television show is long forgotten. Instead the heavy bass duo, Slander adopts the name to headline their own US tour.

Image courtesy of Headbangers

Prior to the 2-week long campus closure, I had the pleasure of stopping by the San Jose City National Civic Center to attend their show. With it being titled “Headbangers Ball”, it did not disappoint. The show feature supporting acts by Wavedash, and Eprom. Both supporting acts were able to live up to the event’s name by spinning nothing but heavy bass tracks, mixed with melodic dub-step and even some Future House records.

The venue itself reminded me of a mini-scale Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. It featured a large floor area filled with bodies head banging all night long, and the seating up top on the 2nd floor was no different. Upon arriving I was shocked to see the diversity in the demographic of the audience. I noticed a wide variety of ages, some looking like young college students attending their first rave, while others looked to be in their early to late twenties.

After making it past ID and security check points I was pleasantly surprised to see how packed the venue was. Up first was EPROM.

EPROM was a refreshing, yet heavy sound. Most notably he dropped his own remix of Porter Robinson’s “Sad Machine” that set the tone for the rest of his set. I was most impressed by the way EPROM was able to shuffle the pace of his set by bouncing back and forth between heavy Trap and Bass sounds, to melodic dub-step and house music.

Fallowing EPROM was Wavedash. I had little to no knowledge on what kind of music this duo puts out, but I found it to be a little too heavy for my taste. Wavedash played a set filled with what felt like, all Dubstep and Trap records. Within the first two songs of his set, there were many mosh pits going on all around the dance floor. While his set was over the top for my taste, I found it to be enjoyable after retreating to the balcony to avoid getting sucked into a mosh pit.

Now let’s talk about the headliner, Slander. I have been following their music since the release of their “Nuclear Bonds” EP that featured the track “Gud Vibrations” with the artist Nghtmre. “Gud Vibrations” was the summer festival anthem for the year 2015 and since then I have fallen in love with all the remixes that they have put out. Slander is a unique combination of emotional lyricism and HEAVY drops. The stage production would switch between heartfelt images during their softer records, then would immediately switch to a darker, almost devilish themes for their harder tracks.

While Slander began his set, I sat in the balcony seats. I was in awe at the production value. The crowd had so much energy, I almost felt as if I could feel building shaking every time, I heard a bass drop from his records. Seeing the crowd collectively singing along his remix of Post Malone’s “Fall Apart” was something I’ll never forget.

Overall, the Headbangers Ball did not disappoint! Originally, I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to have a good time, but I was glad that I attended. It was such a positive way to bring in the start of my birthday.  

Travis Scott – Sicko Mode (Skrillex Remix) Review


Skrillex just guaranteed that “Sicko Mode” will be played at every club, festival and party.

Not too long ago, he remixed Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” and transformed it into heavy rotation-track.  The remix feels more like 4 edits on the drums with a remixed middle part that has more of the Skrillex-sound we know. It feels very minimal and that works in this track’s favour because it will guarantee more plays in the clubs for its lack of experimentation. The best part has to be the Jersey Club section that comes in at 4:25.

The Jersey Club section has me wondering if we’re going to hear some Jersey Club collaborations with Skrillex. It would be a smart move and hopefully, he has something in the works with DJ Sliink or even some other producers from the Club community. Skrillex is definitely smart and obviously will benefit from riding this wave, but it feels much more like one of those shout-outs to the culture of Club sound.

The placement of the Club section of Sicko Mode is placed at the end; ensuring that it got the last attention of the listener. Overall, this track was already good and we all have been playing this song multiple times. Thankfully, you can now add to your party playlist an even more uptempo remix. This song will do well with those people who like to dabble in EDM (there’s a difference) and those who like the Heavy Bass, Jungle Terror, Jersey Club and Dubstep elements.

If you haven’t heard the “Humble” remix yet, well you need to. Skrillex has much success with his Rap remixes, and we saw how successful “Wild for the Night” with A$AP Rocky was, So we can only expect even more of this style to come out.

///Victor M.

Let’s Talk About Crossovers In Video Games


In popular media, crossovers happen all the time. The Simpsons had a crossover with Family Guy. Fairly Odd Parents had a crossover with Jimmy Neutron. However, in the world of video games the concept of having crossovers is hit or miss. With some video games having guest characters being unlock able, and other games featuring characters as cameos, it is very rare to see a video game franchise pull off a successful crossover.

This morning Nintendo held another online reveal to one of its flagship titles “Super Smash Brothers Ultimate” in the form of a 40-minute web trailer. Nintendo’s ability to connect to its audience via “Smash Direct” has been notoriously famous for new characters being revealed, generating hype around who’s going to be next to join the fighting games roster.

If we take a step back and examine the titles in the past that have tried to make a collaborate effort, there are only a few that stand out. The “Marvel Vs. Capcom” series was probably one of the biggest crossovers of all time in the fighting game community. The origins of Capcom’s versus collaborations date back to 1996 with “X-Men vs. Street Fighter”. With a simple roster of just 17 playable characters featuring the core super heroes from X-men and the core group of Street Fighter, the game found its success by appealing to such a broad audience.

Moving forward, Capcom rode its momentum publishing the “Marvel vs. Capcom” series which dominated the arcade scene in the early 2000’s. The game eventually reached a level of interest that planted its roots in the Fighting Game Community for the next few years.

However, Capcom has also released one of the biggest collaboration projects when it released “Street Fighter cross Tekken” in  2012. This crossover was a huge deal for fighting game fans. The hype brought so many people to Comic Con 2010 when it initially made its announcement. As time went on, many fans began to point out the flaws the game had; an auto-blocking feature, no unique character combos, and On-Disc DLC. The community was outraged to find out that unlock able characters were already on disc data, and the fact that they had to pay to unlock this content eventually brought an end to the overall interest of the game. I guess when it comes to fighting games, you live and die by the fans.

Fast forwarding into today’s modern times, Nintendo brings a refreshing take on the crossovers in their fighting game, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Today’s characters reveal brought the hype. The 40-minute presentation showcased its newest batch of characters; Ken from Street Fighter, and Incineroar from Pokemon, as well as the Piranha Plant from Super Mario. Yes, the plant from that lives in pipes from the Super Mario franchise is a playable character in this game.

Time and time again, we are witnessing Nintendo showcasing their ability to generate hype to a very broad and diverse audience. There is something that everyone can enjoy in this upcoming release of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Whether you are a fan of the Street Fighter legacy, Metal Gear Solid, or even Pokemon. The Smash Brothers franchise is guaranteed to bring enjoyment to its fans.

I am incredibly excited to see what direction this game goes. Its competitive scene has taken the fighting game community by storm, and I hope to be able to rekindle my passion for competitive play with this game.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Review


THIS IS SPARTA! That’s right, the newest edition of Assassin’s Creed has been out for a while and people have been kick-flailing all about it and for good reason (you know… besides working out those thy muscles). I couldn’t help but find myself contractually obligated to produce a magnificent review of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, or what I like to call, the “Revenge of Leonidas’ Kick.”


AAAahhhhhhhhhh!
Now some of you may be asking, “what’s with all of the 300 movie references Adonis?… You beautiful man you…” To that I say: First, the commonalities are many, and second… it’s nice to be called beautiful every once in a while (men need to feel pretty too).

Both 300 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey take place in Ancient Greece. You play as a Spartan who loses their way after tragedy strikes early on in their life that leads you on an epic journey to find your mother. It’s basically the movies Home Alone meets 300. Speaking of mothers…


Battle of the Sexes
For the first time in Assassin’s Creed history, you are able to select what gender you will be (there’s another AC game where you got to play as both genders, but didn’t get to chose which for an entirety of the game.)

For the first time in a long while, I contemplated what gender to play as since I always play as male. I ended up choosing male anyway, but the fact that it arose in me that much deep/intellectual thought, still intrigues me.


So Many Cliffs… Too Little Time…
Now ask yourself, how does it feel to be on the wrong side of a flat-heeled sandal (being kicked off of a cliff)? If you are the remorse-kind, you just might save your arch supports for another day. One of the many new aspects introduced into the AC mix is the option of choice.

Though the easiest option might be to kick a higher-leveled foe off of the nearest cliff, AC Odyssey introduces dialog options where diplomacy and choice comes into play. Some of these options can get pretty complex and effect future game results.

For instance, one of the hardest choices I had was to either catch a baby murder who was going to escape or save a baby from a burning building… (Look below to see the end result).


Ladies, I’m Single…


Would you look who it is… My Old Nemesis…
AC Odyssey introduces the Nemesis system. Originally created by the developers of the “Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor” the nemesis system creates enemies at random who each have their own personalities, weapon types, strengths, and weaknesses. It

humanizes and brings importance to, what could’ve been, mundane enemies. It’s nice to know that the people you are kicking off cliffs will have a digital family that will never skip leg day again.


Kicking Solves Most of Your Problems… Almost…
Though my favorite move in the game might not work on everyone, it certainly is useful so when in doubt… kick it out! I give Assassin’s Creed Odyssey 8/10 Spartan Kicks. What did you think of the game?

Did you find yourself Spartan-Kicking your way out of a tough situation? Let us know below, and for all of your future reviews, keep it locked to KSSU.

Is Venom as bad as Critics Say?



Venom (2018) (Sony Pictures)
Black Panther Spider-Man.. I mean.. Venom, released October 5th, 2018 to a slaughter of critic scores in the cine-plex. At the time of this writing, Venom sits at a 32% on Rotten Tomatoes which makes it officially a certified load of crap, but does that translate across all boards? Could viewers disagree with critics? Rhetorical; the fact of the matter is that fans and the average viewer alike agree that Venom is a smash hit and here are my reasons for the divide:

A Story Lost to Madness (And Funniness?)
Venom is absurd (the character and the film) but that’s not a bad thing! Quite frankly, the film starts at a bad pace and really doesn’t pick up until the 2nd act with the introduction of Venom himself. The majority of major blockbuster films are now suffering from an interesting concept of “Marvel-it-up,” which translates to “make all movies funny.” What happens when you try to make more things funny? Critics get tired of the same-old, but the average movie goer who takes a trip to the movies once a month doesn’t experience the same fatigue of “Marvel-itis” (yes I made my own word, sue-itis me).

What Makes this Redeemable?
Tom Hardy, despite some of his questionable roles (I’m looking at you Bane in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises), is quite the extraordinary actor and certainly gets to flex his acting chops in Venom as both his roles as Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote, which he provides voice over work for. The bread and butter of this film is churned through the character interactions between Brock and Venom

Where did Sony Stumble?
Sony (the movie studio) has a bad habit of showing too much in their movie
trailers and some could make an interesting case for this film’s trailers ruining all of the best action sequences in the film itself. The surprise is that, although it is an interested marketing strategy, it shouldn’t be a pejorative to movie goers. It isn’t and shouldn’t be the “end-all, be-all” for a film to have a questionable trailer production team, but yet here we sit talking about it’s importance (so… hint-hint Sony…).

Isn’t Venom a Bad Guy?
The Anti-Hero isn’t that much of a new frontier. It was done recently by DC and the like (à la Suicide Squad, Spawn, DeadPool, Wolverine, Ghost-Rider…), but where does Venom sit on the hero-scale spectrum? Without getting too much into spoiler territory, Venom becomes a person (symbiote) whom the audience can get behind. In their own individual spin-off movies, of course they’ll be the hero to their story!

Should you See it or Not? Who Do I Believe?
No one! Believe no one! I typically love to get my media reviews from famous YouTubers such as “Beyond the Trailer,” and “Angry Joe,” (all of whom I highly recommend, both for entertainment and astute critical analysis values, which are credited to different demographics) but I’ve even disagreed with their views on different products of media. The best way to form your own opinion is to form it yourself (and listen to me of course).

What are your thoughts on the Venom (2018) movie? Did it surpass your expectations?

Comment and write below, and for all of your Anti-Hero news, keep it locked to KSSU.com

Reason Impresses on Debut Album “There You Have It”


On a September 29, Top Dawg Entertainment’s Reason dropped his debut album “There You Have It” and it did not disappoint.

The Del Amo native showed impressive lyrics on and displayed that he has what it takes to be the next big thing in hip hop. Reason tweeted in regards to the album saying, “This is not a TDE production project, this is a project that Top discovered me off of that he felt was so good, he did not want to rob you guys of this experience of hearing it. Remixed and Remastered, There You Have It.”

Top Dawg Entertainment is the biggest label on the West Coast with Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and SZA to name a few. In my opinion, adding Reason just makes the roster a bit deeper. 

The album is unique because it gives you a West Coast vibe that you can hear it in the beats and his flow. A lot of rap albums (especially mumble rap) nowadays are starting to sound the same and have little substance. This album talks about all kinds of different topics like relationships, encounters with gang bangers, murder and much more.

This isn’t pop rap or mumble, this is music that will last and that you can connect to. The best songs on “There You Have It” in my opinion are “Kurupt”, “Drive Slow/Taste Like Heaven”, “Situations” and “Summer Up”. 

If you have yet to listen to this lyricist, you need to give him a listen because this is classic rap music flowing over cool beats, storytelling and spitting bars. Jump on the bandwagon now before he blows up. 

PS4 Spider-Man Review (As a New Yorker)


Nana-nana-nana… Spider-Man! Recently released PS4 exclusive Spider-Man has gotten the internet raving about it’s newest edition to the Superhero video game genre. But has Insomniac Games captured the essence that is web-swinging? With reviews circulating the internet I thought the best way to provide an authentic review, is to review it in my alter ego persona, Donny the Don: Professional New Yorker Extraordinaire! (Side note, I’ve never been to New York)


Hey! I’m Swingin’ Here!

Hello, Donny the Don here, hows it going? Yeah I’m taking over, big whoop. Right off the bat I’d like to say that the swinging in this game is incredible. Nothin’ like tellin’ the cabs to “screw off” like traveling via web-powers!

Insomniac Games has created an incredible web-swinging mechanic dat’ redefines and adds on top of an already engaging experience. Much like Spider-Man 2 (the game), webs attach to actual structures in game like my own motha’ inviting herself over to my place for cannoli.

Would you like to swing ‘round a corner by attaching yourself to a radio tower?… YOU CAN! Want to dive-bomb and web-zip at the last second before splatting on the ground like a pizza delivered after 30 minutes? You bet!

Want to swing up higher than the buildings and attach to clouds? FORGET ABOUT IT! What are you a wise-guy!?


Why I ‘Oughta!

Aye, what does Spider-Man got to do to get respect ‘round here, eh!? The combat system is reminiscent of the Batman Arkham video game series. An interweaving (see what I did there?) of attack-dodge and gadgetry.

Gadgets range from web-grenades to spider-drones (Spider-Man is officially a Millennial). The fighting is where da’ game really shines like a street performer in the subway. Aye, you gotta’ do what you gotta’ do.


Your Mudda Dresses Yous’ Funny!

If all of you’s want to be da’ Spider-Man… then you’s got to dress the part! The game offers you’s the opportunity to not only wear the original design created by Insomniac Games for Spider-Man, but up to 27 different costumes (as of the time of this article).

Some are call backs to classic Spider-Man Comics, Films, Alternate Dimensions, and a couple of surprising ones dat’ I wont dare spoil. That’s a lot of different choices there for you’s tough guys, eh?


Are You Talkin’ ta Me?

Whoever was leading the Story/Dialog and Facial Animation of this Game deserves our fricken’ respect! Cutscenes are at peak performance and are the epitome of story driven prestige.

All ‘dat fancy mambo jumbo just means ‘dat when they talkin’ to you’s, all of you’s listen alright? Don’t make me get wound-up like traffic going over the Brooklyn Bridge!

Some surprising cameo’s from classic Spider-Man villains and alternate universes find a way to make guest appearances in da’ game. Several times I found myself chuckling wit’ glee as I witnessed call backs to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movie, or a certain collectible dat’ was referencing da’ very first Spider-Man comic!


I Swear Officer… Dey’ were Webbed Up When I Got Here!

Overall da’ game is a wonder to behold and is added to my personal list of “Best Games of the Year.” Spider-Man PS4 by Insomniac Games swings in at a cool 9/10 for great story-line, better game play, and the best Web-Swinging in a Spider-Man game yet!

Were you as excited for this game as much as I was? What was your experience with the game? Let us know in the comment section below and for all of your Super Vigilante needs, keep it locked to KSSU.com.

Lane 8 “Little By Little” Tour Review


As deep house and trance events are few and far between in Sacramento, Lane 8’s Little by Little Tour was a refreshing event to grace Ace of Spades on Sunday, March 25th. The tour instructions told goers to leave their cell phones out of the event, and to simply be in the moment with everyone in attendance. The deep beats and medium sized crowd ensured that possibility. Thus, because of the simplicity of the beats and lack of visual records, it created an atmosphere that is unlike many of the tours going on in 2018.

The ticket to the event rightly read “This never happened”, as an ode to the days when you could go to clubs and completely release yourself to the simple, singular deep beats in front of you without the inane distractions in your pocket. It truly does take a certain level of concentration to release yourself to one moment, and then another, and then another. This does happen however, and to continue dancing to Little by Little was a transcendental experience that was different from other genres of EDM. It beckons you to put all of yourself into one beat at a time and to let it take you somewhere you can let go. In accomplishing this, Little by Little is uncomplicated in its’ production yet entices the viewer to be bathed in its simplicity. The ethereal and ambient additions in his music make it something of a dream world when you catch yourself entranced by every single beat. His set included his newest album Little by Little, along with a cover of Take a Chance by Flume and his album single No Captain (ft. POLICA). However, the crux of the night came when he played his cover of Innerbloom by Rufus Du Sol. In Lane 8’s Cover, the listless and ambient yearning of the original Innerbloom, is made to feel as if there is a happier meaning to the song.

If you see Lane 8’s Tour near you at any point this year: go. If he is playing a set at your next festival, go, because you won’t experience another set like it soon. It will remind you that the power of concentration and release is cleansing in a world where externalities are always infecting our well-being. To take a moment, and forget what it means to be seen by others, reminds us that even the singular moments we experience in everyday life can be enriching, if only we let them.

Album Review: Kings of Leon – WALLS


kingsofleon-walls-album-2016

The year of 2016 has marked the beginning and the end of a plethora of items and people.  Over the course of the year we have lost music icons such as David Bowie and Prince to name a few; however, we have also seen new releases by formidable artists and performers such as Green Day, The Weeknd, Metallica, Radiohead, etc.  One of such releases comes from American alternative-rock band Kings of Leon with their seventh studio album titled “WALLS” (We Are Like Love Songs).  Although arguably not a masterpiece, WALLS delivers familiar Kings of Leon staples reminiscent of their material eight years prior that are both energetic and relaxing.
Alternative-rock as a genre itself can be dismissed as one that is characterized by an overuse of delay, distortion, fuzz, power chords, and underdeveloped melodies that are forgettable; however, WALLS takes these familiar elements and blends them smoothly with subtle embellishments and instrumentation to offer a bit of variety.  In the opening track, “Waste A Moment”, listeners are presented with an upbeat, almost pop-oriented single that is full of energy and announces the band’s presence with their signature overtones and gain-filled rifts.  The result is a simple, yet fun way of demonstrating that this in part is the band listeners have come to enjoy over the years, yet they have changed slightly since the last time we have heard them.  The latter effect becomes apparent at the album’s midpoint with tracks such as “Find Me” and “Muchacho”, which introduce synthesizers, rhythmic sampling, whistling, and other subtle instrumental embellishments that diversify each individual tune.
Despite these small innovations, the tracks themselves are still characteristically Kings of Leon tracks that do not stand out among the discography that they have established over the years.  “Find Me”, for example, is primarily driven by a semi-complex guitar riff that appears at the track’s beginning and makes subsequent appearances with each chorus.  This is not particularly a bad thing; however, this focus on familiarity and on what we have come to expect is exactly what makes a majority of the tracks rather predictable.  Though the synthesizer usage is present briefly in the beginning and sporadically though each verse, it is a lack of utilization of these devices that makes tunes such as “Find Me” fun but relatively forgettable.  Aside from this, active listeners will also recognize a familiarity in structure.  Yes, I refer to the typical Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus.  Though there is not necessarily anything wrong with this standard format, this additional limitation does not serve the band justice in these instances.  In this listener’s opinion: “I get that it works, cool, but I am getting bored”.
The Kings of Leon have always been a band that strikes me as not too innovative in regards to new styles of music, but rather, one that seeks to improve upon a genre that is adored and enjoyed by thousands throughout the world.  They have demonstrated time and time again that they are good at what they do, and I commend them for that; however, it is time to change.  What else does the Followill gang have to offer?  Until that time, enjoy more of the Kings of Leon you have come to love.

I give WALLS, a 3 out of 5.

Let’s Review Pomades Vol.1, Review 1: Lockhart’s Goon Grease


pomade-pomadeLockhart’s Goon Grease is a heavy hold pomade created by Steve and Nichole Lockhart, owner and operators of Lockhart’s Authentic Grooming Company in Michigan. Goon Grease applies like a light hold, but keeps your hair up and shining all day according to the Lockhart’s website. Made for “The scary fellas that come from the other side of the tracks,” The Lockharts suggest that Goon Grease is perfect for slick backs, pompadours, and everything in between.

hr_465-166-00_lockharts-goon-grease-hair-pomadeTHE TIN

Lockhart’s Goon Grease comes in a nice and sturdy 4oz tin can. The tin comes in a variety of designs including the original, which just says “Lockhart’s Goon Grease” on the top of the tin (The one featured in this review), the special edition, which features the Goon Grease mascot, and the recent “Goon For President” tin, a presidential campaign button appearance guaranteeing you that Goon Grease is a “REAL” pomade that you can trust.

THE PRODUCT

The original Goon Grease comes in a teal color with either two scents: a cucumber citrus blend (Featured in this review) or a cinnamon sandalwood blend. The cucumber citrus blend is uniquely aromatic, but not too overpowering. It is an oil-based pomade made of petrolatum, microcrystalline wax, beeswax, avocado oil, lanolin, and parfum for the scent.

APPLICATION

Surprisingly, the product was easy to apply for a heavy hold pomade. Though the top layer of the pomade is pretty hard, a few seconds under the hot air of a blow dryer should make the top layer easier to scoop. Just a knuckle’s worth of Goon Grease did the trick for my hair, but you may need more or less depending on what you are trying to achieve with your hair. The break down of the pomade took about fifteen seconds. Like the Lockharts stated on their website, Goon Grease does not apply like your average heavy hold pomade. There was not much hair tugging or struggle to run a comb through the hair like the past experiences of dealing with heavier pomades, but a more simple process.

STYLING

Using a fine-toothed comb, styling with Goon Grease was moderately simple. Though the short hairs on the sides were resistant at first, I managed to get them down as well as creating an executive contour-like look with a clean part on the right side under ten minutes. In other experiences with heavier products, it has taken as long as twenty minutes to style my hair, but in this case, I got the style I wanted in half the time.

ENDURANCE

Heavy holds have the reputation to keep your hair up all day even through the roughest of working and extracurricular conditions. Goon Grease has a strong endurance. After an afternoon work shift exposed to the California heat, Goon Grease kept my hair looking good throughout my shift. The cucumber citrus scent became subtle as time passed by, but still stood out as an evening breeze passed by. Goon Grease’s shine is great for a heavy, but the shine will dip down as time goes by, but that’s normal

 

 

WASHING IT OUT

Compared to heavy hold oil-based pomades, Goon Grease can take a couple of washes to completely remove from your hair, which may be a good thing or bad thing depending on your preferences. To get Goon Grease out of my hair, I used a little dab of Brylcreem to reduce the build up in my hair and proceeded to shower. Most of the product washed out thanks to the Brycreem and thoroughly shampooing my hair.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Goon Grease has a big following in the pomade community, praised by reviewers for its easy application and its impressive hold. Though I’d recommend Goon Grease for styles such as vintage pompadours and slickbacks, Goon Grease can be a reliable product to use for many styles from the quiff, executive contour, and everything in between. With a variety of good scents, easy application, and low styling difficulty, Lockhart’s Goon Grease is a must try for all of you who prefer heavy hold oil based pomades and for those of you who think you are one of “The scary fellas that come from the other side of the tracks.”