Bonnaroo 2015 Lineup Announced

The Manchester, Tennessee-hosted music and arts fest just revealed its upcoming attractions for June 11th-14th, 2015. Big names include Kendrick Lamar, Mumford & Sons, Billy Joel, Childish Gambino, Jamie xx, ’80s throwback Tears for Fears, Led Zeppelin’s frontman Robert Plant, Earth Wind & Fire, and others. Hosting a nice balance of indie, classic, and mainstream appeal, the 3-day fest is ideal for any music-savvy Southerner who can’t make it to either coast for the bigger ones–or who wants a rainbow of artistic options.

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Governors Ball 2015 Lineup Announced; Drake Headlines

The East Coast’s Coachella, a more hipster-free music fest alternative…or more commonly known as NYC’s 3-day music affair, Governors Ball,–announced this June’s lineup this past week. Like the wilder Indio, CA festival, Drake is the headliner,–amongst some of the most obscure, wonderfully weird, and indie counterparts. Other notable attractions include Marina and the Diamonds, The Black Keys, beat-wizard Flying Lotus, St. Vincent, and SBTRKT. Scheduled for June 5-7th, the concert will take place at the typical Randalls Island location just outside of Manhattan.

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Review: Fleetwood Mac Live at the Hartford XL

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On Saturday, November 1st, the Hartford XL center fell under a spell…one of Fleetwood Mac, that is—and a kind that managed to reach the monster arena’s top tier, hexing even the nosebleed-seat occupants.

The sold-out, 70s mystical-rock affair hosted Stevie Nick’s witchy enchantment (complete with dreamy twirls and gypsy garb), a so-youthful-it’s-creepy dose of Lindsey Buckingham acoustic/electric jamming, John McVie’s unfaltering bass guitar, former-wife Christine’s sweet vocals, and band vet Mick Fleetwood’s drum touches. Each musician was on, alive, and in the moment–voicing abundant praise and gratitude between nearly every song.

Appearing under dim and dreamy blue lights, the band broke right into “The Chain”, intro-ing with an extended version of the embittered classic. Within the first few biting strums of the song, audience roars let loose and the magic commenced.

Clocking in at a generous 2 hours and 40 minutes, the set satisfied fans hungry for greatest hits (“Gold Dust Woman”, “Everywhere”), as well as those more absorbed in the band’s obscure material (“Sisters of the Moon”, “Silver Springs”).

While Christine McVie, the band’s most treasured return, crept in with softer hits like “You Make Loving Fun” and “Say You Love Me”, Stevie balanced out the fluffier tracks with a hint of her signature gloom, nailing back-to-back performances of “Dreams” and “Rhiannon”.

Forty years old and only getting cooler, the newly reunited fivesome provided nothing but a full set and flawless harmony, complemented by an electric solidarity only intensified by a long 16 years apart.

Lindsey grabbed his share of the spotlight with the rowdy and feral “Tusk”, executing full acoustic force, and hypnotizing all the front-row baby-boomer ladies in the process. And with Christine on the accordion, the understated 1979 track woke up any who ever slept on it.

Other Lindsey highlights of the night included a goosebumpy performance of “Never Going Back Again” and the fiery “Big Love”, delivered in a burst of blistering string work.

A few anecdotes from Stevie and others reinforced the personal band-to-crowd feel. Sharing the meaning of “Gypsy”, the singer spoke about her Woodstock-era experience in San Francisco and entry into The Velvet Underground, a haute hippy-couture shop where inspiration sparked for the later hit and band membership.

The show was thorough, to say the least–with enough unruly Mick drum solos and John McVie’s bass work to power everyone on stage. When the band’s unusually happy cover of “Go Your Own Way” seemed to contradict the once-bitter song’s words, anyone observing the smiles and musical play-off between the five knew that it now signified something a lot sweeter.

Check out some footage below:

Drake Puts the “Heart” Back in Hartford

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Drake played at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford last night…*sigh*…as well as someone else, whose first name starts with L and last rhymes with pain. I think that by now everyone knows of my Tunechi dislike, but I had to [somewhat] suppress it last night, seeing as at least half the crowd around me was there for his part of the show alone.

Anyway, though, I was 15 rows from the stage; unlike the Jay-Z/Justin Timberlake concert last August, no “nosebleed” seats for me this time. Up close and personal.

All it took was a little pretending that Lil Wayne wasn’t nearby, and that Drake was singing directly to me…and without much delay, I was sent straight to Aubrey Graham heaven.

The concert was truly perfect: an over-two hour set, hardly any breaks, and even a floating-in-the-air-on-a-pole Drizzy; the only negative, of course, being that I couldn’t take him home.

He had the bars, (“0 to 100”, “The Language”, “Started from the Bottom”) and the ballads (“Hold On We’re Going Home”,”Marvin’s Room”, a tear-welling piano rendition of “Find Your Love”).There was also the angsty “Days in the East”. He turned up…and turned down, at all the right times.

Audience interaction was sweet and genuine and our boy did all this while rocking just a white shirt and khakis…(which eventually was outfit-changed into a black shirt and khakis).

Supplementary: they also brought 50 Cent out halfway through the show. LOL.

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Cole World: The UConn Story

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For many of us hip-hop fans at UConn, a lot of fan-girling went down in Gampel Friday night. J. Cole, the underrated Born Sinner rapper performed a set that left Huskies hungry for more. Covering all the bases with an array of material from past mixtapes “The Warm Up” and “Friday Night Lights,” the NC artist’s breakout 2011 studio album “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” as well as Cole’s most recent “Born Sinner,” the rapper appealed to all fans of varying longevity.

The concert opener, fellow Dreamville teammate Bas, helped hype students up for the main act. He performed songs from the recently released “Revenge of the Dreamers” mixtape, a collaboration featuring J. Cole and other artists on the record label. Bas did many UConn shout-outs, praising both our men’s and women’s basketball teams for their recent victories. The opening set lasted a full hour, paid homage to some of Bas’ role models in the game, showed off the rapper’s astute and Schoolboy Q-ish flow and pumped us up in the process.

With no fancy introduction or elaborate buildup, Cole appeared. He introduced the show with “Land of the Snakes”, one of the tracks from the summer 2013-released “Born Sinner” (yep, the one that topped the sales of Kanye’s release the same day). After laying down some bars from “The Sideline Story,” the emotion-filled “Nobody’s Perfect” and the club classic “Work Out,” J. Cole greeted the crowd and expressed–in a short and sweet speech–just how much he appreciated the love. Like Bas, Cole also raved about UConn basketball, leading us into multiple chants throughout the concert and eventually throwing on a UConn hoodie sometime between “Forbidden Fruit” and “Can’t Get Enough.”

Jermaine couldn’t have made his gratitude clearer; the gaps between songs were filled with counting blessings and thank-yous for a history of musical support since his come-up in 2009. There was also a 15-minute break taken to introduce all the members of his live band (electric guitar, keyboards/piano, drums and two female vocalists whose fit-for-R&B pipes delivered goosebumps).

Though it was warmly familiar to hear the more mainstream classics like “Crooked Smile (Feat. TLC),” “Work Out” and “Power Trip (Feat. Miguel),” the highlight for the die-hard Cole fans was the inclusion of lesser-known gems from the rapper’s first two mixtapes and rougher, more underground tracks off “Born Sinner” (i.e. “She Knows (Feat. Amber Coffman).” Renditions of these were raw and more intense than you’d experience via an EP listening session; Cole is too good live.

A brief one hour and 20-minute set list, the concert flew before our eyes but still allowed fans to soak up some quality bars and lyricism from Jermaine and even made some of us get a little light-headed during “Power Trip.” Following the two encores, students in the front row, myself included, were lucky enough to get a quick handshake, fist bump or high five from Cole (in my case, a bear hug)—who personally jumped down from the stage to greet the front row fanatics. All in all, the mutual appreciation between fan and artist was felt and the crowd response was hyped and strong—two traits vital to UConn spring concerts, and ones that made the last one of my senior year unforgettable.