Posts Tagged ‘Ice Cube’

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Yonder Mountain String Band returns to Bend next week to play progressive bluegrass for its horde of fans. I spoke with Adam Aijala and Dave Johnston about the band’s state of mind after two albums of stylistic exploration under the guidance of renowned rock producer Tom Rothrock.

“We feel that we have no — or not as many — boundaries now,” Aijala said last week, “and I think he helped us accomplish that.”

Still, the Yonder fellas aren’t content to rest on their accomplishments. In the same telephone interview, Johnston said the quartet’s compositional skills are strong and eclectic enough to allow the band to stretch whichever direction it chooses, whether bluegrassy or rockin’.

“We just have a lot of different parts about music that we love, and it just has so little to do with musical genres and more to do with what feels right for us,” he said.

And what feels right for one guy often feels right for the others, Aijala said.

“Because we’ve spent so much time together, whether we like it or not our songs tend to work with each other, even if we write them independently,” he said. “We’ll show each other songs and they might even be a totally different mood, but they go together.”

Click here to read the whole thing!

Ice Cube! Photo by Andy Tullis / The Bulletin.

Feedback this week is about Wednesday night’s Ice Cube show at the Midtown Ballroom, which was, in my mind, a solid success. Cube put on a tight, sturdy, entertaining and thunderous show for a sold out crowd.

With some not-so-gentle coaxing from Cube (“throw ‘em up!”), “Check Yo Self” elicited a sea of iconic, W-shaped “west side” hand gestures bobbing across the Midtown’s floor, connected to folks of all ages, some older than the headliner and some so young they probably think of him as a movie star first.

The second half of the set was anchored by three older hits that highlighted the ever-present influence of slinky, synthy ‘70s funk on both Cube and West Coast rap in general.

“We Be Clubbin’” led to “Bop Gun” which led to the mega-hit “It Was a Good Day,” which predictably drew the loudest reaction of the night. (It seemed to be an especially loud, squealy crowd, too.) Cube closed with “I Rep that West,” a single from his newest album that again sent hundreds of “W” signs into the air.

It was a fun show. I hope you’ll go read my whole review by clicking here.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Dubby dude Kevin Kinsella is at The Annex, bluegrass faves Head for the Hills return to town, and OK Sweetheart does throwback pop at Bo Restobar, plus Bloodlust’s CD-release show, Misner & Smith at portello, The B Foundation at Silver Moon, Jonathan Byrd returns to Sisters and Mia Dyson plays a ranch way out in Kimberly.

[Photos] Ice Cube at Midtown Ballroom

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

My full review of last night’s Ice Cube show at Bend’s very sold out Midtown Ballroom will run tomorrow in GO! Magazine, and I’ll link it here on Frequency. In the meantime, take a gander at some sweet photos of the night by The Bulletin’s Andy Tullis. (Note: The one guy you see in the sixth photo that’s not Ice Cube? That’s his pal WC!)

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Busy night in Bend: Ice Cube, Christabel & the Jons, The Dangerous Summer, Linda Purl and Lee Lessack

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Ice Cube at the Midtown Ballroom, yes. But I suspect that one may already be on your radar. So I’m going to point out a few other options tonight that would work if (a) you’re not a rap fan, or (b) you can’t afford the Cube ticket, or (c) you’re looking for something to do before hitting the Midtown.

First up, Christabel & the Jons, a fine little Tennessee swing combo with a sound that goes down as easy as good Southern sweet tea. They’re playing for free at 7 p.m. at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. Read my story here.

Second, The Dangerous Summer, a group of young, fresh-faced fellows that play big, loud, catchy pop-rock in the vein of ’90s emo/pop/punk heroes like The Get Up Kids and Saves The Day. Along with a bunch of other similar bands, they’re at the Pilot Butte Event Center at 7 p.m., and it costs $8-10 to get in. Read my story here.

Finally, if veteran stage/screen performers singing the songs of legendary composer Johnny Mercer are up your alley, then you need to head to the Tower Theatre, where Linda Purl and Lee Lessack will be, uh, singing the songs of legendary composer Johnny Mercer. Click here for tickets and more info. I can’t find any video of Linda Purl and Lee Lessack singing the songs of legendary composer Johnny Mercer on the internet, so instead, here’s Purl’s first encounter with Michael Scott on “The Office.” Made of real apes!

Leave a comment and let me know your plan for the evening!

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Hip-hop legend Ice Cube rolls into Bend’s Midtown Ballroom on Wednesday! In this week’s GO! Magazine, I make the case for why you shouldn’t turn your nose up at a chance to see the man, given his enormous influence on rap music over the past 20 years.

After “The Predator” (plus his increasing interest in film work), Cube’s musical dominance waned, no doubt about it. But hindsight provides perspective on the importance of Ice Cube’s stint with N.W.A. and his first three solo albums, which, along with fellow gangsta rap pioneer and N.W.A. alum Dr. Dre, ushered in an era of hip-hop that valued gritty street tales and speaking truth to power over, say, a pair of glittery parachute pants. It was an era that would reign for nearly 15 years, until Kanye West came along and spawned a generation of emotive, Auto-Tune-happy singsong rappers like Drake and Kid Cudi.

These days, Ice Cube sounds like a man intent on securing his legacy. His 2010 album is called “I Am the West” and on the chorus of its lead single, “I Rep That West,” Cube defends himself against those who criticize his career arc and reminds us he’s a “hall of famer” in the rap game.

That’s understandable, but unnecessary. Ice Cube doesn’t need to apologize for being a fortysomething dude who has made a ton of cash in his lifetime and can no longer rap knowledgeably about life on the streets.

Sure, the game has passed him by. But it also owes him so much in terms of style, culture and history, thanks in large part to a hyper-productive, ultra-creative five-year stretch more than two decades ago. Even in 2011, the man deserves respect for that.

On the fence about buying a ticket? Click here to be convinced that you should.

Speaking of legends, yes, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck plays bass for The Baseball Project, and yes, the baseball-themed band is coming to Silver Moon on Thursday. But the Project is the brainchild of pop-rock lifers Scott McCaughey (Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows) and Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate, Miracle 3), two super-fans of our national pastime. I caught up with McCaughey shortly after the band wrapped up its tour of spring training sites in Arizona.

GO!: Because of the subject material, is The Baseball Project more fun than your other, non-baseball bands?

SM: I can’t say one’s more fun than the other because of course we love playing our other songs as well, but this is a whole different thing. In a way it’s sort of a relief … to write about another subject. Even though some of the songs end up being personal, a lot of them are also just sort of writing in the folk tradition, the oral tradition of recounting a story or reciting a ballad or whatever, which is a lot different from what Steve and I write normally. So it’s kind of refreshing. I like it. Sometimes I get so into it that it makes it hard to tune back into writing a song about my boring life or whatever.

I will say, though, (at the spring training gigs) I found myself really kind of getting lost in some of these songs … so I felt pretty good about that. They weren’t just exercises in cleverness or something like that. I think they have some emotional weight. At least it feels like it to me when I sing some of ‘em. We’ve been writing songs for so long that we have … a certain standard that we hold ourselves to. Just because these songs are about baseball doesn’t mean that they don’t have to be good songs.

Click here to read the whole thing.

Elsewhere in the music section, we have a fundraiser for Shireen Amini’s new album, tonight’s CD-release party to celebrate Jay Tablet’s “Put It On the Tab,” and the Central Oregon Songwriters’ Association’s annual Song of the Year show, plus The Dangerous Summer, Christabel & the Jons, Necktie Killer, The Mowbray Collective and MC Mystic doing ladies night right. There’s a lot going on in town this weekend, so be sure to check out The Bulletin’s calendar for more options!

Holy hip-hop! Ice Cube, Del the Funky Homosapien, Busdriver coming to Bend (but not together)

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Hip-hop heads rejoice! A few shows announced this weekend means things are looking up for rap fans over the next couple months:

–On Feb. 12, West Coast icon and breakout star of the Hieroglyphics crew Del The Funky Homosapien will return to Bend. Openers include Bukue One, who really impressed me the one time I saw him. Details on the show are here. In other Del news, one of the only CDs I’ve ever lost was a copy of his solo debut “I Wish My Brother George Was Here.” I think my brother Adam swiped it.

–L.A.-based alt-hip-hop motormouth Busdriver returns to town on Feb. 13 for a show at MadHappy Lounge. Last time dude was here, he opened for The Greyboy Allstars at Domino Room, but this will be a much more intimate, much cheaper (probably free) show. All you Mosley Wotta fans should not sleep on this one. I have one Busdriver album — 2007′s “Roadkill Overcoat” — and it is a funky, psychedelic trip around the left-of-center hip-hop planet.

–Put a big circle around March 27 on your calendar, because that’s when rap legend (and cousin of Del, coincidentally) Ice Cube comes to the Midtown Ballroom. Cube is inarguably one of the most important and influential figures in the history of the genre, thanks to his powerful work with N.W.A. and as a solo artist. (This is one of my favorite beats ever.) Plus he was in “Boyz n the Hood.” Of course, his music career is past its prime and these days, I mostly think of him as the multimedia mogul who’s always on TV telling me that TBS is “very funny.” Still … it’s Ice Cube. Looking forward to this one. Find more details on the show here.