Friday, 31 July 2009

Out and Proud: 15 bisexual female singers

Celebrating diversity and rights equality music knows absolutely no boundaries. Colour, nor religion, nor nationality, nor sexuality could possibly stand in the way of music that goes beyond prejudice, inequalities and discriminative laws. At the threshold of the second decade of 21st century we still care exceedingly too much on who goes to bad who with. Like vultures medias point out the odd ones, pigeonholing them for the sake of some pointless organizations with depository missions instead of a good will. But still, there are those proud men and women who are out and proud. That is why I decided to spend some time with a series of OUT AND PROUD musicians, who have had some influence on contemporary music...and culture as a whole.

The first edition is dedicate to some of the best known bisexual female singers, who have officially stated their sexual preferences and don't mind how you would take it. The order is in no way strict or final!

15. Lindsay Lohan - the real bad girl of teen pop music, who began as a promising child actor, but as years passed she indulged into the pleasures of drugs, alcohol and promiscuity. Despite being categorized as lesbian Lohan is closer to the bisexual description, going on and off with guys and gals.

14. Missy Higgins - the Melbourne-born singer-songwriter was one of Australia's best music exports for 2005, giving her some serious career push. She has established as one of the best known Australian alternative singers for the last few years and a promising young musician who is just about to make another major breakthrough.

13. Meshell Ndegeocello - a fine instrumentalist, an experimenter and a style innovator Meshell is one of those smooth jazzy voices that make you dream of realms set far out of any modern boundaries. She may not be your regular million-copies seller, but has more to offer than your average MTV-diva.

12. Skin - open-minded, scandalous and talented are just some of Skunk Anansie's lead vocalist's traits that make her visible in the crowded sea of female singers. Even if you are not into alternative you just can't have missed out her shaved head.

11. Billie Holiday - having a seminal influence on jazz and contemporary pop music she has been referred to as one of the most important GLBT figures for the first half of the 20th century.

10. Amanda Palmer - The Dresden Dolls' lead vocalist and solo performer Palmer brings the spirit of the 30s back on track. She is quite open about her sexuality and leaves no doubt with her original lyrics which deal sexuality, self-expression and outstanding oneself.

9. Ani DiFranco - her songs center around GLBT topics, the atrocities of life, the joy of being oneself and knowing the sole reason of one's existence. One of the most talented and prolific in the folk genre DiFranco has made the way for other aspiring GLBT musicians who are open about themselves and know good music.

8. Dusty Springfield - one of England's most beloved 60s and 70s singer she has always had her personal life secluded, protecting herself from all the dirt that tabloids had in store. Struggling her entire life with personal dramas, Dusty has managed to keep her head up and become a role model for every female musician.

7. Janis Joplin - a controversial public figure, a driving force for the hippie movement and a life ending too early she lived for the moment and made music that lasted decades after her fatal encounter with heroin. Never truly understand during her lifetime Joplin remains an enigma for many, but still is considered as one of the most important bisexual musicians of all time.

6. Pink - being one of the most successful pop singers of the last decade Alecia Beth Moore sexual ambiguity to a new more commercial level freely using a lesbian outfit and openly demonstrating her support for the GLBT community. Not that she was the first one to back up bisexual musicians, but she was one of the few to be there from the very start up to now.

5. Debbie Harry - an inspiration for almost three generations music was her flirt with the world. With Blondie she went beyond her wildest dreams, becoming one of the best known female singers of the late 70s - early 80s and iconic figure for the music industry dominated back then by men.

4. Peaches - boys wanna be her! Bad girls had to learn some new tricks to keep up with her. Outrageous, spontaneous and disturbingly sexually charged Merrill knows no stops. Livin' la Vida Loca of her own she has continuously defended the honor of the GLBT community, even she goes to extremes.

3. Sinead O'connor - going through some major lifestyle changes, she never did shift sexual preferences and kept playing for the same team. Neither scandals, nor her deep theological explorations took Sinead of track, and despite not being that commercially successful her traces in the music business are still visible.

2. Bjork - although she has never said "I am bisexual" she has talked extensively on the boundless flow of sexuality, as well as expressed her sexually ambiguous thinking through her songs and videos. Soothing to some and annoying to other Bjork remains one of the most controversial musicians of the last two decades and certainly a basis for the adequate development of GLBT music.

1. Madonna - she is bisexual, she is lesbian, she is straight. Madonna knows no sexual boundaries and still I have placed her in this list as easily going both ways. She has never kept a secret her numerous encounters with other women, as well as the joy of trying as many tastes as one can. Not your butch feminist dyke, nor your regular vanilla heterosexual Madonna is the sole description for the freedom that bisexuality represents.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Exclusive: Madonna - Celebration

Madonna's first single from her best-off album "Celebration" just leaked and it's time for a proper party! The eponymous song is one of three new tracks to be included in her greatest hits album, expected 21st Sept (UK), 28th worldwide and 29th (USA).

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Wall of Shame: Галя - 3 минути излагация

Имало едно време един доста успешен дует казващ се Каризма. Времето минавало, хитовете се редели един след друг, но лакомията и звездоманията превърнали този музикален проект в бездушния проект Кариеризма. След издаването на един измъчен албум и няколко трудни сингъла дуото се разпаднало на съставните си части: Мирослав Костадинов aka Миро и Галина Курдова aka Галя. Докато Миро успя да се понапъне и да пусне цял албум (със съмнително качество), Галка-малка си взе продължителна почивка, която изглежда не й е била достатъчна. Замина за Щатите, после досади с неадекватното си участие в МAD Secret Concert и след това ни се закани соло музика да пуска. Надявах се да й отнеме повече време докато намери някой да се измами да я продуцира, но къде с помощта на дружката й Руши Видинлиев, къде с едно голямо рамо от страна на Nescafé, госпожица Курдова се завърна на родната музикална сцена...за всеобщ ужас.

Няколко пъти съм изпадал в безмисления спор може или не може Галя да пее, но "3 минути до шоу" е живото доказателство, че наистина фалшивото пеене никоя програма за обработка не може да прикрие. Докато слушам този покъртителен продукт на местната музикална индустрия се чудя докога ще я бъде тази агония? То не бяха блудкави мелодии, плиткоумни текстове и досадни клипове, а сега дори и комбинирани в едно. Шефовете от Нестле е редно да уволнят всички отговорни за това извинение за песен, което се очаква и да бъде част от тяхната рекламна кампания. Разбирам, че Нестле подкрепя българската музика, но не е ли редно да допълнят "добрата"? Промоцирана като песен написана от двете страни на Атлантика "3 минути до шоу" съвсем спокойно минава в графата досадни и желателно незабележими, но имаме нещастието да ни бъде натрапвана като ХИТОВА! Създателите й дори трябва да се замислят как така парче създавано на два континента звучи като електронна песньовка с вкус на разредена евтина водка.

Скъпа Галя, скъпи Руши, скъпи екип работил по "3 минути до шоу", започнете да правите връзка с реалността! В опитите си да бъдете оригинални не вземайте едно към едно комерсиалното мислене на западната колегия, а търсете собствен подход. Текстът е умопомрачително глупав, без извинение. Месенето на български и английски език в една песен е особено дразнещо, най-вече когато няма грам връзка между бученето на "инглиш" и граченето на "бългериън". Ем ай фиешън ор уат? Галя досадно се напъва да бъде лошо момиче, но май не увира, че преправянето на гласа не е начинът. Ако трябва да бъда честен новото й амплоа е по-малкият проблем на фона на виенето й, което може да патентова като оригинална хорър музика.

Благодаря ти, Галя, поне сега няма да се чудя защо в родните клубове оригинална БГ музика не върви, а весело се щрака на чалга колаборацийките с твоята бивша творческа половинка Мирко! Жива и здрава! Време е пак за почивка...продължителна, моля!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Skunk Anansie officially reunited

Recession is an evil bitch leaving musicians penniless and hungry (figuratively speaking). After a few reunions this year Skunk Anansie buried the hatchet in order to reform the band and play a few gigs, as well as releasing some new material. Honestly said I am not surprised at all, when money is short you just have to swallow the pride and do a few things you might have never expected to be committing. Anyways, Skin and company are back on track after a 9-year break up and they promise to be even better. An European reunion tour names "Greatest Hits Tour" is planned to start on 9th October this year with most gigs across the UK.

Here is the video to the single "Tear The Place Up" taken from their future album "Smashes and Trashes":

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Wall of Shame: Every hero's wake up call?

Probably there really is a god, or at least a higher power that keeps me away from all the crappy loads of music running through music channels as sewer. Don't get me wrong, I do respect everyone that works as a professional in this ruthless business, but sometimes I feel way to disgusted to be supportive. Such is the case with little miss Hayden Panettiere, best known as Claire Bennet from ABC's hit series "Heroes". Apart from her acting career she has a few mediocre attempts in singing of which I was most happily unaware of. A few days ago when one of Panettiere's efforts had been posted on my news feed on Facebook and my nosiness drove me straight to the hell called "Disney's teeny heavenly candy galore". I should check myself for diabetes and severe mental damage.

If you are a Jonas Brothers and alike fan Hayden is your girl, otherwise be warned!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Review: VV Brown - Travelling Like the Light

VV Brown's success is virtually travelling with the light after the release of her highly anticipated debut album. Vanessa, of course VV is not a real name, offers an intriguing combination of electronica, funk and dance with a few strings of alternative and soul. A debut that easily could be among the best ones for 2009 and deserves your attention. Brown's major plus is the fusion of club friendly rhythms with the vibes of underground, which is brought to life with the distinctive use of various instruments and backing on plenty of styles.

Seen as a refined combination of Grace Jones and Erykah Badu, wrapped up in her own originality and stage presence VV Brown is virtually one of the next-best-things to storm the commercial sphere. Nevertheless, Brown's post-modern influences could be considered as both flaws or advances. To me, "Travelling Like the Light" is a fresh attempt to be apart from the mass and still sound accessible and friendly. Sadly, Brown's determination to swing back to the 50s-70s reminds me painfully too much of Duffy and Adele, exceeding the recommended retro dose.

Although often put somewhere in the indie niche, VV Brown is anything but indie. As soon as Island Records, which is part of Universal Music, becomes an independent label VV and alike can proudly call themselves indie-pop. Island being annoyingly cautious take Brown's promotion step by step that keeps her still criminally unknown. Probably under the label's pressure "Travelling Like the Light" deliberately allowed styles to flow into one another creating an idiosyncratic structure for every taste. Of course, even a fifth grader knows that this is a big load of nonsense. Brown proves to be an excellent funk/doo-woop/R&B singer, but she most certainly lacks that electronica vibe that makes you wanna go to every club eager to boogie to her tracks.

Tracks to hear: "Shark in the Water", "Back In Time", "Travelling Like the Light" and "Crying Blood"

Rating: 7/10

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Weeds: Little Boxes

A few days ago I started watching the American dramedy Weeds, which tells the story of Nancy Botwin and her endeavors in the marijuana dealership and the way it affects her family and friends. The opening credits in the first three seasons is the song "Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds . Jenji Kohan, the series creator, supports the idea of diversity, thus the guest music appearances of more than twenty musicians and bands that all perform "Little Boxes", keeping closest to the original and still introducing their very own way rework. Among the names are those of Regina Spektor, Linkin Park, Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins and Elvis Costello.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Review: DatA - Skywriter

French electro has always been a slippery slope that can lead to the deep waters of failure. Well, David Guillon, the actual name behind the moniker DatA, got away with a few broken ribs and a fair warning not to play that "daft" if he's not absolutely sure about the final result. Don't get me wrong "Skywriter", Guillon's debut LP would have been a fine piece of electronica...if it was released somewhere in the 90s. At some points the similarities to Daft Punk are that obvious that it bloody hurts, despite the probable good intentions.

"Skywriter" comes out after Guillon's string of EP's, which gained him the respect and the critical acclaim by both fans and journalists. Despite all the praise DatA never did get out of the shade of French electro dominated right now by Justice and their alike. Probably Guillon is not striving to acutely distinguish himself from the whole scene, but "Skywriter" is an album you can easily do without if you are in fact too much into the French electro wave. Perhaps a few more original ideas and crucial stylistic efforts could have pulled out a few tricks to entertain the eager listener, but after a few listens "Skywriter" turns out to be little less than exciting.

Justice, hailed by critics as the fresher version of Daft Punk, did cause a small revolution in the rather stagnant French electro scene, but the success formula wore off too soon. Used by too many and too often and one time French electro sounded as an extended load of crap on repeat. DatA makes no exception to the rule...sorry, but we are not that stupid to anxiously anticipate yesterday's news. For what's worth "Skywriter" has a few pleasant tunes to keep aside for better times that safe the album from being the next annoying hyped electro album with no actual perks. Nevertheless, it all depends on your current electro status and if it says anything but French then, I guess, you should come back when the thrill is back.

Songs to hear: "One In A Million", "Rapture", "Skywriter" and "Blood Theme"

Rating: 5/10

Friday, 10 July 2009

Review: Rinocerose - Futurino

Rinocerose (correctly spelled as Rinôçérôse) is one of those criminally underestimated bands that have always been an idea away from their worldwide breakthrough. Probably, loyal fans are happy to keep this band secret, just for their very own pleasure. Still, albums like "Futurino", their fifth proper studio release, proves that it's about time they gained some serious attention. The stylistic variety, the intelligent lyrics and the emotionally balanced flow make Rinocerose an exquisite addition to your extended music library, as well as "Futurino" a fresh look on French music.

Although Jean-Philippe Freu and Patrice Carrie, the brains and body behind the moniker, started Rinocerose as an exclusively electronic project it has moved to the more rocky sound that dominates "Futurino". Elements of dance-punk, new-rave, electro-rock and indiepop are introduced throughout the record by their subtle fusion and incorporation. The album stands somewhere between self-explored maturity and the party flow of independence, bouncing back and forth in accordance to the vibe.

Forget about all the possible surprises! "Futurino" is to be enjoyed right here, right now...with company, or on your or night. An excellent detour from all the pop crap that has been terrorizing our TVs these days; a vacation on the French Riviera, sharing a few drinks and laughs in a dimmed club with the company of dance beats, groovy guitars and sleek vocals. What more to ask for?

Songs to hear: "Tomorrow", "Time Machine", "Head Like A Volcano" and "Touch Me"

Rating: 8/10

The pilot single "Time Machine":

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Review: Motor - Metal Machine

"Metal Machine" Motor's newest album release is not your usual summer-hits blaster or your regular electro relief for the late night. It might have been conceived as a minimal project, but ended up offering a good load of techno, acid house and a narcotic pinch of electroclash, eventually mashing into a groovy bad-ass night filled with handfuls of ecstasy and happy faces. Not that the duo of Mr. No and Bryan Black have found America, but "Metal Machine" carries that specific charm of being intimate and open with this mechanical live we've put ourselves in and actually not feeling guilty about it.

Trying to find the right words for this record I find myself sucked into the steel loops and sent to another dimension where words express nothing. Words mean a lot of things, but when they are not present they can absolutely anything you want. Motor refrains from using proper vocal tracks as an attempt to stay closer to the true essence of music itself, being smothered and ambiguously understood by the vanity and complexity of words. "Metal Machine" is all about the music and keeping it real, despite the 100% artificial origin of this album.

Songs to hear: "Schism", "Jacked Up", "Glu" and "Death Rave"

Rating: 7/10

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Review: Felix da Housecat - He Was King

Who was king and does this mean he is not alive? Probably the two crucial answers in Felix da Housecat's new album that have no clarity. I guess it's just not my year, especially when it comes to favourite musicians and my dear Felix proves me no wrong. Sadly, we could all easily go without "He Was King" and now that is what I call a bummer, although I am not surprised at all.

Felix had his best years back when the electroclash scene was still vibrant, producing and meaningful. But after it's natural downfall and his dubious return to the house family, the picture got all smothered and some people obviously lost themselves in the vast fields of electronica. "He Was King" is somewhere in between house, electro, electropop and dance, without leaving any impression of being a whole product, but rather a compilation of various works under the electronic shield. I have always thought of Felix as a wise producer knowing "da" real good stuff, but as it seems things change and in this instance not for good. Honestly...I was bored! Yes, "He Was King" was just a few ideas away from absolute boredom and I could almost fall asleep while listening.

No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't come up with any praise and for what's worth this album just doesn't deserve it. Total lack of originality, songs that sound old as my grandma and brutally blunt tunes knocked out the few positive words I was planning to write down, but all went to oblivion as soon as I reached the end of the tracklist. With a few exceptions "He Was King" is a major filler either in your CD collection or on your hard disk. Actually even the exceptions are nothing special, they just sound OK compared to the rest of the material.

Songs to hear: "Machine", "Spank U Very Much" and "Do We Move Your World"

Rating: 5/10

First single:

Monday, 6 July 2009

Stuck in my mind: Telepopmusik - Breathe

Summer is here and the music has to fit the season. What better than Telepopmusik's all-time classic "Breathe", which easily is one of the best summer songs I have heard. It's quite funny how odd the whole song is and still it carries that distinctive summer vibe, feeling the sun all over your skin, smelling the salt of sea and awaiting the long lazy hours in the sun. I have always loved the video for it shows how artificial we have become and our emptiness virtually kills anyone who opposes it. Of course, apart from the disturbing message implicated in the video, you'd better get in the holiday mood and prepare for a swim in the depths of the ocean...of music...or?

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Sticky & Sweet Tour: Part 2 - setlist and first live videos

Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour: Part 2 officially hit the road, starting from O2 Arena in London, and revealing the long anticipated setlist, as well as concert changes. With a few wardrobe retouches, new song arrangements and different backdrops, it seems that the Bitch of Pop music will kindly stick to her original Sticky & Sweet concept, which might come as a disappointment to those who have already watched the first part. Nevertheless, she is in great shape, keeping up strong and highly professional. An addition to be noted is the inclusion of the Michael Jackson element that came at the very last moment in accordance to his still-to-be-cleared death. The setlist is a bit of a mess and to be honest I am not impressed. I knew that she was going to concentrate on the "Hard Candy" material, but this whole bunch of rearrangements and sampling is slowly going on my nerves. Another thing is the absolute exclusion of "Confessions On The Dance Floor", which, let's face it, brought her back to stardom after the doubtful success of "American Life". Anyways, more to come from the Bitch and be ready to get all sticky and sweet this summer!

# "The Sweet Machine" (Video Introduction) (contains elements from "Manipulated Living", "4 Minutes", "Human Nature" and "Give It 2 Me")
# "Candy Shop"
# "Beat Goes On"
# "Human Nature" (contains excerpts from "Gimme More")
# "Vogue" (contains elements of "4 Minutes" and "Give It To Me")
# "Die Another Day" (Remix) (Video Interlude)
# "Into the Groove" (contains elements of "Toop Toop", "Body Work", "Jump", "Apache" and "Double Dutch Bus")
# "Holiday" (contains elements of "Billie Jean" with excerpts from "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'")
# "Dress You Up" (contains elements of "My Sharona")
# "She's Not Me"
# "Music" (contains elements of "Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit", with excerpts from "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life")
# "Rain" (Remix) (Video Interlude) (contains elements of "Here Comes the Rain Again")
# "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You"
# "Spanish Lesson"
# "Miles Away"
# "La Isla Bonita" (contains excerpts from "Lela Pala Tute")
# "Doli Doli" (Kolpakov Trio solo) (Dance Interlude)
# "You Must Love Me"
# "Get Stupid" (Video Interlude) (contains excerpts from "Beat Goes On", "Give It 2 Me", "4 Minutes" and "Voices")
# "4 Minutes"
# "Like a Prayer" (contains elements of "Feels Like Home")
# "Frozen" (contains elements of "I'm Not Alone" with excerpts from "Open Your Heart")
# "Ray of Light"
# "Give It 2 Me" (contains elements of "Fired Up!" (Club 69 Mix))

Spoiler alert! Do not watch the videos, if you want to be entirely surprised!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Review: Florence and The Machine - Lungs

Tori, Regina, Fiona, Kate and all the rest beware! Florence Welch, best known as Florence and The Machine, is on the roost and she happens to be amazing! "Lungs" is virtually one of the best indie-pop albums I have ever heard, as well as one of the best to come out in recent years.

"Lungs" is the balanced mixture of folkatronica, pop, alternative and experimental with the fine pinch of Welch's witty and highly original lyrics. This debut is so breathtaking, that it's almost disturbingly unreal and only after a few thorough listens assures me that music can still have a meaning over the obvious. Don't get me wrong, Florence is not heavenly talented and unreachable, she just manages to offer something that has been missing on the whole UK/American singer-songwriter scene for quite a long time. While Tori Amos bores me to death with her recent endless piano whining or Fiona Apple's stylistic uncertainties and struggles, Florence hops up in the right moment with a fresh breath straight from her lungs.

Smoothness, freely flowing tracks from one to another, stylistic diversity and originality make "Lungs" one of 2009's must-haves. Apart from the whole technicality Florence and The Machine go further deeper in developing the concept of an odd world where things that seem regular are irregular and notions tend to take particularly unusual forms and ways of expression. Received by both critics and fans with a critical acclaim after the release of the band's first single releases "Lungs" lives up to their expectations with flying colours. Such a strong debut for a 22-year old singer-songwriter, who was once labeled as dyslexic and dyspraxic, could only give us high hopes for an outstanding follow up to cause further competition in the rather stale indie genre.

Songs to hear: "Dog Days Are Over", "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)", "Drumming", "Between Two Lungs" and "Kiss With A Fist"

Rating: 9/10

Friday, 3 July 2009

Review: The Crystal Method - Divided by Night

There is nothing better than pleasant surprises, especially when they come in the nick of a time. Such is the case with The Crystal Method's fourth proper studio album "Divided by Album", which is their first in five years. I dare say it grabbed me from the very first listen and enjoyed listening it till the very end. The Crystal Method might have never reached the popularity of The Chemical Brothers, but with with albums like their latest one, they do prove to be quite the competition.

"Divided by Night" sticks to the duo's tradition of extended guest appearances throughout the record both vocal or instrumental contributions. Eight out of twelve songs contain guest vocals, which virtually makes this album their least instrumentally dependent. The big number of collaboration give an additional asset to the final product and only prove for the complexity and maturity The Crystal Method have striven to demonstrate. Nevertheless, "Divided by Night" is not your another The Chemical Brothers' album squeezed to its maximum for the sake of commercial success and potential chart-breakers. Don't get me wrong, I like the Brothers a lot, but The Crystal Method happen to be still on track with the actual meaning of making music and care to be less over the top and electronically snobby.

Still fusing as many genres as possible, Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland keep up to their own standards with a few intriguing improvements. Improvements that make their music more accessible without the blunt taste of selling-out. Stylistically "Divided by Night" has little to do with their genuine big-beat sound, which is another indicator that the whole genre is heading down the spiral to oblivion. In the times of such a high diversity of electronic styles sticking to the good old beats and turntables equals almost suicide and with their latest release The Crystal Method put the knives away from their wrists. Of course, "Divided by Night" could have had some more surprises in store and be even more outstanding and dancefloor-crashing, but let's be honest The Crystal Method have never been your club regulars. If you don't know/remember why grab the new album and divide your night with a few original tunes.

Songs to hear: "Divided by Night", "Drown in the Now", "Sine Language", "Double Down Under" and "Black Rainbows"

Rating: 8/10

Thursday, 2 July 2009

My concert experience: Limp Bizkit

I saw Limp Bizkit live. I didn't actually intend to do that, but it did happen and I am not sorry about it. Alright, I should go back in time further when I still kind of liked Limp Bizkit and the music alike, although I have never been a fan of Fred Durst and co., but liked several of their hits when they were still big. Years past, their fame faded away and I moved on, becoming one of the many who liked this band just cause it was hype. The moment the concert was announced only for a few seconds the idea of going to the concert ran through my mind. Limp Bizkit were brought to my attention no sooner than the day of their concert in Sofia when I received an unexpected invitation to attend the concert...for free. Here is the right moment to thank my friend Olia, who made this experience possible! I will skip the details about the tickets and move the action straight to the concert itself.

Limp Bizkit's performance was part of the first edition of the Rock the Balkans festival that was supposed to be a 3-day rock event. The whole idea was scrapped as soon as Biohazard had to postpone their gig, and probably due to poor sales and the bad weather in addition the festival was held in a single evening. These changes caused chaos, brought too different genres on the same stage one after the other and pissed off most of the attendees. Frankly said if it weren't for the free ticket I would have never given out money for something that had no actual concept and relied entirely on the main attraction.

My friend Olia and I got there just for the Turkish neo-metal band maNga, which were my personal surprise. The play an intriguing combination of crossover, electronica and Anatolian tunes, and sing exclusively in Turkish. I guess, the fact that they sung in a language different than English didn't trigger the chemistry between the band and the audience, which was slowly growing bigger. maNga was the only band to actually adequately clicked with the sound of Limp Bizkit, something that didn't happen with the rest of the acts.

The Turks were followed by the Canadian heavy metal quintet Saga. This band was a few minutes away from making me fold hands and pray to any god willing to save me from this ridicule and annoyance. A bunch of senile headbangers jumping around the stage led by a pathetic copy of Conan the Barbarian. I had rather spent their whole performance in the toilet, but someone had allowed them to play for a whole hour. Poor old guys, did no one tell you that we have never heard of you! The frontman asked us if we had listened to their new crap...ummm...stuff or had bought their newest album. Now that can be sure that no one will even illegally download anything by them.

After this dreadful performance, which almost put everyone to sleep, was time for the American progressive rock band Queensrÿche. Let's say that they didn't make me think of a suicide while listening to them, but can be sure that I will never ever dig up any torrent sites for their discography. They were bearable and the smaller evil, although I was counting every minute till the frontman says "This was our last song". Definitely there were people who were there for them and knew every single song, which was quite comforting recalling the previous act.

Five hours after the official start of Rock the Balkans the moment of truth was about to blast the hall. Tension grew, the multitude gathered impatiently and a black curtain fell in front of the stage. Of course, the curtain was just for those in front of stage. This time I was comfortably seated on the tribunes having an excellent view and seeing all the preparation going unnoticed for those down. The moment the crowd heard the drums from "My Generation" and it went crazy. There he was: Fred Durst in flesh. Honestly I was really happy that I wasn't any near to the stage as most probably I would have been squeezed out in the mosh or even worse my friend would have practically understood what moshing means.

Durst, with his red cap and shorts, true to his renowned style had a bunch of hits coming for the eager audience. People were frantic! Honestly, I had never thought that Limp Bizkit have that many fans in Bulgaria. Don't get me wrong, but nu-metal bands are no longer among the A-list and I didn't expect the crowd to know all of their songs by heart, let alone sing them out loud. Silly me. This is the third in a row reunion concert that I've watched and another one to have all of the original members as line-up. Wes Borlan, the prodigal guitarist, was the big attraction with his original outfit and make-up. Rumors surrounding his return to Limp Bizkit have it that after this tour the band will hit a studio and start recording. I doubt any chances recalling their break up, which was pushed into the media as going on hiatus. Hiatus, my socks!

Limp Bizkit went on with "Living It Up" and "Show Me What You Got" and I just let myself with the flow, despite the fact that I didn't remember some of their stuff. Still, I enjoyed myself a lot and remembered the good old times when baggy clothes, skaters and nu-metal were on the prowl. Thank them for the memories, but apart from recalling a few pleasant moments, I most certainly didn't feel the urge to go back to the teenage roots. "Eat You Alive" and "Hot Dog" were the next to bring me to my junior-high school years. With "Re-Arranged" the crowd went to cloud nine and in front of stage there were plenty of people who were still devoted to Bizkit's music.

"Break Stuff" is the "moshers" favourite, probably because of the song's context. Watching from the comfort distance of my seat I understood the heat of a concert. When you are into it you just forget about the discomfort, the sweat and the pushing, and totally indulge into the music. To be honest I kind of really wanted to mix with the crowd and experience everything to the maximum, but let's call it bad timing. "Boiler" and "My Way" continued the string of hits coming as the crowd's next multiple orgasm. "Nookie" made even me go crazy and Limp Bizkit did know how to rock my socks! The encore included another bundle of hits, which was a clever move as we had all come for their best known stuff and no more teasing was necessary for the night.

The final included the ballad and cover song "Behind Blue Eyes", which was virtually the only slow track played throughout the concert. "Rollin'" was the one that everyone expected and we all knew the gig won't go without! It just blew our tops! The final touch was put with "Take a Look Around". The crowd wanted more and just couldn't believe that it was all over...the journey to the beginning of this millennium when were all rolling as one generation living it all up. Good old memories...yeah, thank you, Limp Bizkit. Thank you!

NB: I've made some photos, but you'd better surf the net for some with higher quality and from a shorter distance. Sorry! Free is free!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Recommendation Weekly: maNga

It's been a long time since I recommended something particular, but just a couple of days ago had the chance to watch and hear live this quite intriguing Turkish rock band. They were part of Rock the Balkans festival and to be honest they were the best act second only to Limp Bizkit. Despite the fact that they sung in Turkish they managed to impress me and afterward to dig up more of their material.

maNga fuse alternative rock with hip-hop, electronic music and traditional Anatolian tunes. Their songs are quite various spanning from nu-metal to industrial with a fine pinch of World. In Turkey they have been quite successful and I do believe that if they start performing in English this band has the virtual chances of going big. Having seen them live I should say that I am impressed by the frontman's vocal skills and the originality of the songs they performed. Probably, some of you will immediately define them as another Linkin Park wannabes or copycat posers, but actually they managed to bring back in my heart the good old flame of my teen years when I would listen to loads of nu-metal or rock music and have a few laughs and drinks in the park.

Manga - Bir Kadin Cizeceksin

Manga - Iz Birakanlar Unutulmaz

Manga - Bitti Rüya